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


girl reading "When does a child learn to read? Many would answer kindergarten or first grade. Butresearchers have found strong evidence that children can begin to learn reading and writing in their earliest years, long before they go to school."

-- National Institute for Literacy

reading graphNarrowing the Achievement Gap: Connecticut’s Successful Reading Plan

A pilot initiative to give intensive reading instruction to the Connecticut children who need it most has produced dramatic results, as educators showed at a legislative briefing co-hosted on April 22 by the Commission.

Watch CT-N video, view PowerPoint slides, and more

Reading Early and Well: Connecticut's Comprehensive Reading Plan

The Commission on Children and the legislature's Black & Puerto Rican Caucus hosted a public forum on April 21, 2015 to highlight components of the state’s plan for reading instruction, including new—and encouraging—data from a pilot instruction program. PowerPoint slides, video and more.

Turning the Curve in Reading

The Commission, the legislature's Black & Puerto Rican Caucus, and the state's Achievement Gap Task Force held a public forum on April 8, 2014 to explore the latest approaches to closing our achievement gap in reading. Officials from Florida and Colorado gave presentations on the novel steps their states are taking, while researchers gave a progress report on a promising pilot program they’re overseeing here in Connecticut. Video, PowerPoint slides, and more

Reading at All Costs

Two national experts on the achievement gap in reading joined state officials, business leaders, educators, and parents at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on September 24, 2013 for a comprehensive look at where Connecticut stands in its long struggle to ensure all of its students can read. Watch video, download documents, and more

Reading Excellence and the Achievement Gap

One way to close Connecticut's worst-in-the-nation achievement gap in reading is to modernize the way we teach our children to read. A pilot program that does just that has produced some encouraging early data, according to experts who spoke on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at a forum co-sponsored by the Commission. Video, PowerPoint slides, and more

Every Child Reading by Third Grade

A policy forum at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, April 5, 2012. Sponsored by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus of the General Assembly, the Connecticut Commission on Children, Literacy How, Haskins Laboratories, and the Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS). Video, PowerPoint slides, and more

Reading: The Engine for School Success

With Connecticut facing the largest reading gap in the nation, a panel discussion was held in Hartford on April 5, 2011 to identify what changes need to be made in the way we teach our children how to read. The Commission was one of the partners in the event, which was sponsored by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and hosted by the legislature's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. Watch video, download documents, and more

Reading Readiness Begins Long Before Kindergarten

Here are the PowerPoint slides (in PDF format) that Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman used in a webinar on early reading success held by the Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS) on December 1, 2010.

All Children Can Read by Fourth Grade

Brain research shows that reading is teachable to 95 percent of our students. Yet 10 to 40 percent of them will have difficulty learning to read and need specialized instruction. That's just one of the key facts in this document, which outlines Connecticut's trailblazing efforts to improve school readiness. Download the PDF

Every Grownup Is a Famous Storyteller

This booklet, created by the Commission and sponsored by the state Department of Education, uses a photo exhibit to make basic points about the importance of reading to children. Dr. Alice S. Carter of Yale University's Department of Psychology provides an introduction. Download the PDF

Oral Language

What language skills does a child need to develop before entering kindergarten or first grade? Here's a checklist prepared by the Commission. Download the PDF

104 Books Every Child Should Read

Recommended by the New York Public Library, with additions from the Connecticut State Library. Download the PDF.

Important Early Reading Legislation

Below is the most important legislation adopted in recent years to ensure that Connecticut children become early readers. See other articles on this page for plain-language summaries. To research the legislative history of any bill, visit the General Assembly website.

Reading: Organizations that can help

In Connecticut, many organizations are eager to help children and adults achieve literacy. Others offer valuable research data. You'll find links to them here.

Connecticut Early Childhood Education Cabinet

Also known as the Governor's Early Childhood Education Cabinet, this panel was created in 2005 to advise on school readiness issues, evaluate current school readiness programs, and assist in developing budget scenarios for early childhood education programs. Its members include Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman. Its documents are posted online by The United Way of Connecticut. Visit this site

Teacher Preparation: The Key to Early Reading Success

Most teacher-education programs fail to train future teachers in research-based methods of reading instruction. This PowerPoint presentation by Margie Gillis, Ed.D., of New Haven-based Haskin Laboratories, highlights the reasons why so many teachers are ill-prepared -- and what can be done about it. Download the PDF

School Readiness and Early Reading Success newsletters

These Commission newsletters concern implementation of the school readiness legislation.

National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) publications

The NIFL, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education, offered an assortment of free publications for parents and educators interested in promoting early literacy. Unfortunately, the agency was shut down in 2010. But another federal agency—the Literacy and Information Communication System (LINC), which focuses on adult literacy—still offers many NIFL publications for downloading as PDF files. Printed copies are no longer available. Publications for eduators | Publications for parents

This page was last updated: April 27, 2016

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