United Way of Lane County's Promise Neighborhoods and the Benefits of Reading Readiness
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In this paper, we measure statistical relationships between defining characteristics of incoming kindergartners and their initial literacy scores. Our analysis focuses on four elementary schools in Oregon’s Springfield School District: two Promise Neighborhood schools and two comparable non-Promise Neighborhood schools. Using scores from the literacy benchmark tests each incoming student takes upon entering kindergarten— controlling for variables such as family income, English language learners, gender, special education, and ethnicity—we find the defining characteristics with the most significant relationships that influence literacy scores. In the absence of a fully randomized experimental design, we give policy suggestions to United Way of Lane County to more effectively increase early literacy in the Lane County, as well as offer advice on the kinds of additional information that would permit a more definitive future study of the Promise Neighborhoods.
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