Thanks to a grant from the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services/Alabama’s Early Intervention Service, 20 Reach Out and Read-Alabama program sites received copies of Count to 10 With a Mouse by Margaret Wise Brown to use as they introduce “Math Talk” to their patients at the 18-24 month visit. It is increasingly clear that well before they begin formal schooling, very young children naturally learn and apply math concepts such as counting, comparison and causality. Research indicates that math competency is a strong predictor of later academic outcomes. Unfortunately, it also indicates that math achievement gaps appear at an early age; children from low-income families or minority communities, and those who are learning English, tend to have poorer math skills at kindergarten entry. According to an Issue Brief: Developing Math Skills in Early Childhood. Mathematica, "These factors suggest that improving the long-term outcomes for all children may depend on exposing them to early math concepts before they enter school.”
Alabama has the fourth highest rate of childhood poverty in the United States; based on 2016 data, 25 percent of children lived in families with income below the federal poverty level. Eighth-grade students in Alabama have the third lowest rate of math proficiency in the country based on 2017 NAEP data (Kids Count Data Book).
We are looking forward to expanding this initiative in 2019 in Reach Out and Read-Alabama program sites statewide.