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Early Literacy Initiative Overview
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) believes in intentional early childhood (birth through age eight) instruction that provides equitable access as evidenced by:
Click for further information related to high-quality instruction for children from birth through age 8.
- Developmentally appropriate practices
- Integrated learning across and within content areas,
- Assessments that rely on continued observation of student performance to inform and drive instructional decisions,
- A balance of teacher-directed and child-initiated activities with opportunities for play-based instructional experiences,
- Culturally relevant curriculum, materials, and practices that are incorporated into daily classroom activities,
Skills and knowledge that impact student literacy learning include:
- oral language
- print concepts
- phonological awareness
- alphabet knowledge and other letter-sound knowledge/phonics
- word analysis strategies
- reading fluency
- handwriting and word processing
- broad content and background knowledge
- knowledge and abilities required specifically to comprehend text
- knowledge and abilities required specifically to compose text
- literacy motivation and engagement
- vocabulary strategies
More information can be found on the Literacy Essentials Website.
MDE has provided supports on key literacy practices, including read aloud with attention to vocabulary, increasing informational text use in the classroom, and interactive writing to address foundational skills standards. Video, webinar, and corresponding research resources can be found here:
To be fully literate, our young students must engage in content area learning to build the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate, collaborate, and critically think.
An additional resource is the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) which reviews the existing research on different programs, products, practices, and policies in education.
Section 35a(4) of the FY 2018 State School Aid Act provides $7,000,000 for early literacy coaches at Intermediate School Districts (ISD) to assist teachers in developing and implementing instructional strategies for pupils in grades K-3 so that pupils are reading at grade level by the end of grade 3. Each ISD in the state is eligible to receive $75,000 per coach from MDE but the ISD must provide funds for at least 50% of the grant amount awarded to support the cost of the coach. In other words, since grant awards may not exceed $75,000 per coach, the maximum required ISD matching allocation would be $37,500 per coach.
Section 104d of the FY 2018 State School Aid Act provides $9,200,000 in an equal per pupil formula reimbursement to districts and public school academies (PSAs) that purchase a computer-adaptive test; or that purchase 1 or more diagnostic or screening tools, for pupils in grades K to 3 that are intended to increase reading proficiency by grade 4; or that purchase a benchmark assessment for pupils in grades K-8.
Section 35a(5) of the FY 2018 State School Aid Act provides $19,900,000 to districts for additional instructional time to pupils in grades K-3 who have been identified as needing additional supports and interventions in order to be reading at grade level by the end of grade 3.
Early Literacy Resources
- The Michigan Department of Education Early Literacy Coaching Model
- Facts for Families: What is the Read by Grade Three Law?
- English Learner (EL) Guidance
- Read by Grade Three Law Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- MCL: 380.1280f Assessments
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is required to identify assessments that districts will use to assist with having all students reading at grade level by the end of third grade (MCL: 380.1280f). The MDE approved assessment lists also help districts and schools in creating a comprehensive screening and assessment system which is an essential component of districts in schools in having a complete program for early literacy to support efforts in raising literacy proficiency and aiding Michigan in becoming a top 10 education state in 10 years. As a part of this effort, the MDE Early Literacy Team conducted a Call for Information on assessments that will assist districts in benchmarking, screening, and with building a diagnostic understanding of student performance.
The MDE has approved submissions that meet the requirements for use during the 2018-19 academic year. For this legislation, approved assessments qualify in two categories: initial and extensive assessment. The intent of the initial assessment is to be delivered to all students and act as a primary indicator that a student may be at risk of falling behind or illustrate an area of concern for which additional instruction/support in English Language Arts may be needed. The extensive assessment may be delivered only to those students for which an area of concern has been identified. The extensive assessment will assist educators with better identification of areas in which to focus intervention.
Districts will select one assessment from the list of initial assessments, and at least one from the list of extensive assessments to use for the 2018-2019 school year. It is understood that student needs may warrant a rationale for using multiple extensive assessments, including assessments not on the list, and districts are encouraged to design an assessment system that provides staff with meaningful data to support all students’ mastery of content.
For more information including the list of initial and extensive assessments, resources for designing a comprehensive assessment system, and information on how to strengthen Formative Assessment Practices; please visit MCL: 380.1280f Assessments.