Early Literacy

Equipping All Students to Read by Fourth Grade

From kindergarten through third grade, children are learning to read. Then in fourth grade, they transition to use reading to learn. A comprehensive state early literacy policy can ensure all students enter fourth grade with the foundational reading skills they need to learn, graduate and succeed.


Reading is the gateway to learning. If our children can’t read, they don’t stand a chance for a successful future. States must ensure every child learns how to read no later than the end of third grade.

ExcelinEd’s comprehensive early literacy policy empowers students with the ability to read opens doors and opportunities each student deserves.


Join ExcelinEd’s Early Literacy Network to discuss current practices, troubleshoot challenges and share lessons learned for effective policy and program implementation.

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Learn more about early literacy solutions.

“Mississippi’s recent NAEP scores reflect the effective implementation of Mississippi’s literacy policies and strategies to improve student achievement. The state led the work to build the capacity of our teachers, and they have done an outstanding job equipping students to become strong readers.”

Dr. Carey Wright

Mississippi State Superintendent of Education

“Literacy is central to any child’s education. It is a foundational building block in the education our children need to face the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead of them in 21st-century America. The Reading Improvement Act will help ensure that our students have the skills they need to achieve their dreams.”

Governor Pete Ricketts

Nebraska Office of the Governor

Real Results


States with early literacy programs improving faster than the national average on the NAEP fourth-grade reading assessment.

11 Points

Mississippi’s increase on the NAEP fourth-grade reading assessment since enacting its early literacy program in 2013.


Increase in Ohio third-grade students reading on grade level since 2016.

Meet the Expert

Policy Solutions  


This policy toolkit offers resources and tools to support states working to advance a comprehensive early literacy policy.  


Nearly all kids can become strong readers if they are taught the right way. In fact, research shows that most children—including those identified with reading difficulties—learn to read when teachers deliver explicit and systematic instruction aligned with the science of reading. Learn how this scientifically based reading instruction is helping states ensure all students leave third grade with the reading skills they need to learn, graduate and succeed. 


ExcelinEd has released a series of impact studies examining the effects of comprehensive K-3 reading policies in seven states. Studies include input from state departments of education, superintendents, staff and educators. Read individual studies from ColoradoIndianaMichiganMississippiNevadaNorth Carolina and South Carolina or view the summary document for highlights. 

Early Literacy at National Summit

Ensuring that each student can read by the end of the third grade is key to a child’s—and a state’s—success. And failure to meet this goal will result in serious, yet preventable, education and economic problems for both. The good news is that states across the country are establishing comprehensive and proven K-3 literacy policies to identify struggling readers early and put at-risk students on the path to a brighter future. In this session, learn about the newest findings in early literacy and how state chiefs are doubling down to improve reading outcomes for all students.
#EIE18 attendees and speakers share their favorite children’s books. 

Early Literacy Videos

Reading matters for children. Learn why these policymakers and education advocates prioritize reading with their families.
To find out how the Mississippi Literacy Based Promotion Act has improved student learning for students across the state, we spoke Mississippi State Senator Gray Tollison, Mississippi State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey M. Wright and former principle David D. Tutor.