Connecticut is known as one of the best-educated states in the nation, yet standardized tests consistently reveal a huge achievement gap between poor, minority children and the rest of their classmates, particularly when it comes to reading. Indeed, Connecticut's achievement gap is the largest in the nation.
To identify what changes need to be made in the way we teach our children how to read, a forum was held on April 5, 2011, at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Sponsored by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, it was hosted by the legislature's Black & Puerto Rican Caucus, in partnership with Haskins Laboratories, Literacy How, the Commission on Children, and the Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS).
The panel's featured speakers included Ralph Smith, executive vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Smith helped design the Casey Foundation's comprehensive effort to help communities improve outcomes for children by strengthening families and neighborhoods.
The other featured speaker was Marilyn Adams, author of "Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print" and visiting professor at Brown University, Providence. Dr. Adams has also designed and written three empirically proven instruction programs.
See below for a list of who appears in each segment. Short commercials precede the videos. (They're inserted by the video service, DailyMotion—not the Commission.)
Ralph Smith, executive vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Marilyn Adams, author and visiting professor at Brown University. PowerPoint
Linda J. Kelly, president, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
Joseph McGee, vice president of public policy and programs, Business Council of Fairfield County
Dena Booker, preschool mentor, Catholic Charities in Hartford
Sharon Flowers, teacher, Rawson School, Hartford
Margie Gillis, senior scientist at Haskins Laboratories, president of Literacy How
Jordan Grossman, principal of Canton Intermediate School
Joseph N. Amato, principal, Wendell Cross Elementary School, Waterbury
Melba Flores, student, Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, New Haven
Tanya Smith, education director, New Haven Reads
Suzanne Lang of Newtown, parent
Gwen Samuel of Meriden, parent and founder of the Connecticut Parents Union
Maureen Ruby, Assistant Professor of Education, Eastern Connecticut State University
Olga Toledo, School Readiness Director, Catholic Charities, Institute for the Hispanic Family
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These photos were taken at a news conference held immediately before the forum by the legislature's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. Click on the album for a larger view and captions.
This page was last updated: April 21, 2011