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Learn about "the science of reading" at Readiness Summit

By Robyn Lightcap

Next fall, joining more than 30 other states, Ohio school districts will be required to use a reading curriculum based on the Science of Reading. This shift is significant and will be challenging. Teachers, especially in kindergarten through 3rd grade, are spending a lot of time getting trained and gearing up for the change.

The Science of Reading is rooted in research that examined how children actually learn to read. Some of our previous assumptions about teaching reading have been proven wrong and explain why reading scores for children have been stagnant in the United States for decades.

In Montgomery County, 36% of children aren’t reading on grade-level in 3 rd grade. The number is staggering for children of color. More than 6 in 10 Black children are not on target. Children who can’t read well in 3rd grade often struggle throughout their school careers.

This year’s 15 th Annual Readiness Summit on March 1 is all about the Science of Reading – why we need to embrace the philosophy in our community and why the shift is so important for teachers, including early learning educators in preschool and child care programs.

The Summit is free and open to the public, but registration is required. We do ask attendees to bring a favorite book for a child, ages birth to 3rd grade, to be distributed through Preschool Promise’s free Little Libraries.

Our keynote speaker, Susan Neuman, professor and chair of the Teaching and Learning Department at the New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, has received two life-time achievement awards for research in literacy development. She also was a U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, during which time she established the Early Reading First program and developed the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program.

Professor Neuman will share how educators and families can foster a learning spirit in all young children, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. In addition, we’ll explore our theme, Wiring the Brain: The Science of Reading Explained, in informative and inspiring breakout sessions. Participants can choose from 12 options, led by local experts and educators.

For 15 years, Preschool Promise has been bringing together early educators, teachers and political and community leaders to delve into ideas that help more children start kindergarten on track and that ensure all students are successful in the years between kindergarten and 3rd grade. More than 500 people attend the event, and they always come away with new knowledge and ideas about how we can support our incredible educators and young children. We’re grateful to our Summit sponsors: Montgomery County, Dayton Children’s Hospital, PNC and Learn to Earn Dayton.

For more information, call Preschool Promise, (937) 329-2700. To register, go to

Robyn Lightcap is executive director of Dayton-Montgomery County Preschool Promise.


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