Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Importance of Daily Attendance

In my role as Literacy Outreach Coordinator, I work with the adults that support children: parents and careproviders and early educators. It is evident that children who are in daycare, preschool and "big" school daily do much better academically and emotionally than do those that miss school (for ANY reason). Research backs this up.

In Richmond, we are striving to improve children's reading outcomes with our Grade Level Reading Initiative. To do this we are working on three critical areas: school readiness, summer learning loss and chronic absence. It is important to set the expectation of daily attendance right from the start. We know that children thrive with consistency and that extends to knowing that they will be in class every day that they are scheduled to be there. So even if your child is in daycare, it is beneficial to have them there every day so that later, when academics play a stronger part in the day's activities, they are there to receive the instruction and experience. EVERY time a child misses class, they miss something that may not be repeated or something upon which later learning hinges.

Think about a time when you came to something late or missed a session and then felt lost and confused because everyone else was in the loop and you were not. It is hard to catch up! And every time this occurs, the gaps increase. This has happened to me and resulted in several weeks of fake stomachaches and "illness" to avoid returning to school where I was sure I was dumb. I moved back to the States from Germany three weeks into the school year. When I began first grade and was called to reading group, everyone appeared to be able to read (they had been working on the same basal reader story for several sessions, but I didn't know that). I felt overwhelmed, scared and way behind my classmates... hence the stomachaches! Now, three weeks is not typical, but each missed day is a missed opportunity to build a strong framework upon which to scaffold learning. Happily, my story ended well and I am a successful and avid reader :)

With the holidays approaching, it is tempting to take your children out of class to travel or for special events. Please think twice and consider the cost to your child.

Watch this video from the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. It illustrates the importance of daily attendance.

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