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Early Learning

Improving early childhood programming and outcomes (e.g., kindergarten readiness and early literacy) through research-based practices.

Early learning is increasingly seen as a high-leverage focus area for improving education outcomes. Recent research on equity gaps during a child’s first five years has prompted policymakers to call for early interventions, and many initiatives are underway. More universally, kindergarten is recognized as a key transition point that requires strong intake and screening procedures, prompt responses to individual needs, and access to high-quality academic programs.

State and district policies often target grade 3 literacy as a key milestone. For example, Arizona and Nevada have state policies requiring that students be retained if they do not reach a specified proficiency level in literacy by the end of grade 3. REL West helps states and districts examine their early learning and literacy initiatives, access information on research-based programs or practices, and evaluate their outcomes.