NC K-3 early-literacy skills exceed the rest of the country

(Carolina Journal) — Children in grades K-3 in North Carolina have surpassed the rest of the nation when it comes to their early-literacy skills. That’s according to N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt, who shared the news at Tuesday’s Council of State meeting. 

The results were based on a reading diagnostic test given in all 50 states. 

“This is due to the incredibly hard work of our K-3 teachers who have been undergoing a very intense 18-month professional development, referred to as Letters Training, that is essentially a return to a phonics-based approach to early literacy instruction,” she said. “This is a topic that is being discussed nationally, as 20 states right now have passed legislation, on the heels of Mississippi and North Carolina, to require some kind of curriculum mandate. In the case of North Carolina, a professional development mandate to ensure that our students are learning how to read given the fact that before the pandemic, about 36% of our 8th graders were starting high school reading proficiently.”

Truitt said this could not have come soon enough.

She also said the State Board of Education would be hearing from her Office of Learning Recovery & Acceleration this week that they are seeing the largest gains in recovery in middle-grade math and elementary reading but not in middle-school reading. Truitt said they would work on policies in the coming year with middle school teachers to help their students. 

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson said he wanted to give kudos to Truitt and her staff at DPI for all the great work they have done.