AmeriCorps in Action

The Switch to Early Learning Corps 

Did you know Early Learning Corps was originally known as Pre-K Reading Corps? The program was renamed this year to better reflect its dual focus on early numeracy and literacy. What sparked the addition of early numeracy? Research that suggested our youngest learners thrive when they receive both early numeracy and math support!

Although we know early numeracy is linked to building logic and reasoning — both predictors of future educational success, researchers from the Marsico Institute at the University of Denver found that on average, Pre-K students were spending 58 seconds a day on early numeracy skills. But what really piqued our interest was a growing body of research examining early numeracy as a predictor of future reading success.

Our partners from The National Science & Service Collaborative at ServeMinnesota (NSSC) designed a study to learn more about early math skills and how they might affect early literacy. The findings were fascinating!  Although students in the study group began with much lower math benchmark scores, they made incredible progress and outscored students in the comparison group on spring benchmarks.

In addition, students in the Early Learning Corps pilot also improved their reading skills! In fact, students who received support in both math and literacy scored higher in literacy performance than students who only received literacy support. Their scores improved by 23.81% from their first assessment.

After seeing the data, we knew we had to refine our model to include early numeracy support for our youngest learners. The new model was piloted at sites in Minnesota and now tutors nationwide are delivering both early numeracy and literacy support in pre-kindergarten classrooms. It’s been fun to launch the new name and see our tutors in their yellow gear. When people ask why we’ve changed, the answer is simple: math that makes our youngest learners better at reading! 

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