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Blog – Early Childhood

The Midwest Early Childhood Education Research Alliance: Improving school readiness and early literacy

By Joni Wackwitz | December 14, 2021

REL Midwest looks back on five years of partnership work in Illinois to improve the literacy outcomes of students in kindergarten through grade 3.


Report examines the use of enhanced coaching for teachers to improve early reading instruction and achievement

By Joni Wackwitz | September 15, 2021

A new study from REL Midwest examined the use of enhanced coaching for teachers as part of a broader professional development initiative to improve early literacy instruction and achievement in Chicago Public Schools.


Three concrete steps educators can take to accelerate reading growth for primary students during the 2021/22 academic year

By Jill Bowdon | June 28, 2021

After the disruption of the pandemic, many districts and schools hope to accelerate younger students’ growth in reading. Although this task may seem daunting, research on reading suggests three concrete steps educators can take to meet this challenge.


Resource roundup: Evidence-based strategies to cultivate early literacy skills as schools reopen

By Sara Mitrano | April 26, 2021

Check out these resources and events from the REL network and the What Works Clearinghouse to explore research and strategies for supporting early childhood literacy development.


It takes a village to support early literacy

By Yolanda Knight | February 22, 2021

Yolanda Knight, program director of the Steans Family Foundation, describes how North Lawndale READS, an early literacy initiative in Chicago, partners with schools and community groups to support equitable access to learning.


Supporting beginning readers: New report looks at reading achievement gaps and trends in kindergarten and grade 1 for two districts

By Joni Wackwitz | February 9, 2021

REL Midwest studied reading achievement across kindergarten and grade 1 for two Illinois districts and found that gaps among student groups widened over time.


Emerging challenges and creative solutions for early childhood play-based learning in remote settings

By Maggi Ibis | December 3, 2020

Illinois district leaders discuss the challenges of providing play-based learning in remote settings and creative solutions educators are using to engage young learners at home.


Meaningful online education for our youngest learners: Tips to reconcile the need for e-learning with how young children learn best

By Jill Bowdon | August 25, 2020

As schools reopen for fall, many will be incorporating e-learning and educational technology. To support young learners, explore these tips to ensure that e-learning is developmentally appropriate.


Tips from a teacher: Supporting early childhood literacy skills in the time of COVID-19

By Megan Hillegass | June 25, 2020

A prekindergarten teacher shares tips on approaches parents can use to teach young children literacy skills at home.


Three ways early childhood educators can support young children and their caregivers during the COVID-19 health crisis

By Aleksandra Holod | May 13, 2020

We draw on research and the science of child development to highlight three strategies early childhood educators can use to support young learners and their caregivers at home.


Report examines the results and lessons learned from a new statewide kindergarten entry assessment

By Joni Wackwitz | November 22, 2019

A new REL Midwest report examines the results and lessons learned from Illinois’s first statewide administration of the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey.


The ABCs of academic success: A focus on early literacy

By Joni Wackwitz | November 22, 2019

Our Midwest Early Childhood Education Research Alliance is targeting early literacy. Learn about the alliance’s new research and training projects.


Resource roundup: Supporting early literacy development

By Joni Wackwitz | November 22, 2019

Early literacy achievement paves the way for later academic success. Browse these resources from the REL network and the What Works Clearinghouse to support children’s early literacy development.


The power of centering equity in social and emotional learning

By Joni Wackwitz | June 27, 2019

A recent REL Midwest webinar explored the intersections between equity and social and emotional development and showcased practices to promote equitable SEL.


Resource roundup: Summer reads from around the RELs

By Marguerite Huber | June 27, 2019

Add these new resources from each of the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories to your summer reading and watch list.


Hitting the road to promote children’s success in kindergarten

By Joni Wackwitz | April 23, 2019

REL Midwest researchers recently hit the road to promote Illinois children’s success in kindergarten. Read on to explore the tools and resources we shared.


Resource roundup for early childhood educators

By Cora Goldston | April 23, 2019

Are you an early childhood teacher or administrator? Check out our roundup of resources from the Regional Educational Laboratory network and the What Works Clearinghouse!


Developing a sustainable training plan to help kindergarten teachers understand and support students’ development

By Joni Wackwitz | October 9, 2018

REL Midwest and the Illinois State Board of Education are building on the success of their KIDS Data Use workshops with new train-the-trainer workshops in October and November 2018.


Resource roundup: The transition to kindergarten

By Marguerite Huber | October 9, 2018

Learn more about kindergarten entry assessments and what it means to be school ready with resources from across the REL network.


Video: Kindergarten entry assessments

July 25, 2018

This video discusses the need for kindergarten entry assessments, provides an overview of what kindergarten entry assessments are, and explains the uses and benefits of kindergarten entry assessments.


Building a coordinated data system to support early childhood education

Cora Goldston | July 5, 2018

REL Midwest is supporting state efforts to coordinate early childhood data to inform multiagency research projects. Learn about challenges and takeaways from building a connected data system.


How to tackle early childhood data coordination challenges by sharing lessons learned across state lines

Meredith Lukow | June 22, 2018

At a recent REL Midwest webinar, early childhood stakeholders reviewed in depth Wisconsin’s process for developing a coordinated data system and learned lessons to apply in their own states.


Coordinating early childhood state data

Marguerite Huber | April 23, 2018

REL Midwest’s Early Childhood Education Alliance came together to share and discuss the process of creating an early childhood coordinated state data system.


Resource roundup: Early childhood education

Meredith Lukow | April 23, 2018

Looking for research on early childhood education? Check out these recent early childhood resources on the transition to kindergarten, kindergarten entry assessments, program quality, the workforce, and literacy.


Let’s talk about an important benefit of the research alliance structure

Emily Kirkwood | April 23, 2018

A Q&A with three Midwest Early Childhood Education Research Alliance members explores the relationships that they have built through the partnership and how these connections might impact their work.


Assessing kindergarten children’s knowledge and skills

Joni Wackwitz | April 23, 2018

REL Midwest is conducting a study to analyze the results of the first statewide Kindergarten Individual Development Survey in Illinois. The findings will provide a snapshot of Illinois children’s knowledge, skills, and behaviors at kindergarten entry.


Helping kindergarten teachers understand their students and tailor instruction

Cora Goldston | April 23, 2018

Learn how REL Midwest is training teachers on using data from a kindergarten entry assessment to observe and develop students’ individual knowledge and skills.


Ask A REL resource roundup

Marguerite Huber | March 22, 2018

Look no further than the Ask A REL reference desk for your education research questions. Check out this compilation of our most recent Ask A REL responses across a variety of topics.


Alliance member snapshot: Kim Nelson of the Midwest Early Childhood Education Research Alliance

February 20, 2018

This video provides an overview of the Midwest Early Childhood Education Research Alliance and its important work in Illinois, as described by alliance member Kim Nelson.


Top 7 facts about REL Midwest in 2017

Meredith Lukow | November 20, 2017

For a by-the-numbers overview of the year, check out these top facts you should know about Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest’s work in 2017.


Education research resource roundup

Emily Kirkwood | November 8, 2017

In case you missed them, we compiled a list of REL Midwest reports and other resources that were published in 2017.


Meet the alliance member: Kimberly Nelson

Emily Loney | March 27, 2017

Kimberly Nelson is a member of MECERA and serves as the executive director of early childhood for the Rockford (IL) Public School District. Nelson supervises...


Beating the odds (2)

Charter Schools (2)

College and Career Readiness (42)

Data Use (32)

Discipline (4)

Early Childhood (31)

Educator Effectiveness (36)

English Learners (10)

Literacy (11)

Math (1)

Online Courses (7)

Research Tools (2)

Rural (14)

Teacher Preparation (24)

Teacher Recruitment (2)

Teacher Retention (2)

Teacher Workforce (14)

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