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Edweek Webinar

Building Early Literacy Programs

Previously recorded, January 2024

Research shows that reading successfully by the end of third grade is a significant predictor of longer term school success. And, early reading difficulties lead to long-term consequences, such as chronic absenteeism, low social-emotional wellness, and school dropouts. Thus, early literacy is the focus of many national reports and research articles, and has the attention of district leaders and teachers. The good news is that strong early literacy programs such as the one we feature in this session, can act as the catalyst for long-term student success. Join us as district leaders from Racine Unified School District share their experience in creating an early literacy program, and highlight:

  • Nurturing a district-wide shared vision for early literacy education
  • Leveraging data-focused insights into student social-emotional, academic, and behavioral progress
  • The importance of providing broad access to evidence- and research-based interventions
  • Equipping teachers with knowledge and support for fostering early learners
  • How to build family and community involvement to help guide parents and caregivers in providing early literacy experiences at home


Melissa Damaschke, Assistant Principal, Knapp Elementary, Racine Unified School District (WI)
Richard Wytonick, Principal, Knapp Elementary, Racine Unified School District (WI)
Janell Decker, Acting Chief Academic Officer, Racine Unified School District (WI)

Moderated by Janice Silver, Ed.D., Education Advisor, Panorama Education

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