Connecticut Commission on Children: An Agency of the Connecticut General Assembly
The Connecticut Commission on Children
dancing kids logo General Assembly logo 18-20 Trinity Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106-1591

Phone: (860) 240-0290  | Fax: (860) 240-0248 | E-mail

Reading: The Engine for School Success

A forum held at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, April 5, 2011

ralph smith and marilyn adams

The forum's featured speakers were Ralph Smith of the Annie E. Casey Foundation (seated in the foreground) and Marilyn Adams, an author and visiting professor at Brown University (standing).

Video | Documents | News Coverage | Photos


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.

The other panelists included educators, business and philanthropy leaders, and community activists. They are listed below.


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.)

Powered by Dailymotion

Segment 1:

Ralph Smith, executive vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Segment 2:

Marilyn Adams, author and visiting professor at Brown University. PowerPoint

Segment 3:

Linda J. Kelly, president, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Joseph McGee, vice president of public policy and programs, Business Council of Fairfield County

Segment 4:

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

Segment 5:

Jordan Grossman, principal of Canton Intermediate School

Joseph N. Amato, principal, Wendell Cross Elementary School, Waterbury

Segment 6

Melba Flores, student, Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, New Haven

Tanya Smith, education director, New Haven Reads

Suzanne Lang of Newtown, parent

Segment 7:

Gwen Samuel of Meriden, parent and founder of the Connecticut Parents Union

Segment 8:

Maureen Ruby, Assistant Professor of Education, Eastern Connecticut State University

Segment 9

Olga Toledo, School Readiness Director, Catholic Charities, Institute for the Hispanic Family

Merrill Gay, Executive Director, New Britain Early Childhood Collaborative


News Coverage

If any of these links has expired, for a copy of the article.


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.

Return to top

This page was last updated: April 21, 2011

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Flickr Follow us on YouTube Follow our RSS feed
CT-N logo ConneCTkids