Building Strong Readers in Minnesota

PreK-3rd Grade Policies That Support Children

Reading well by third grade is an important early indicator of children’s likelihood of graduating from high school and succeeding in college and career. Nationally, about two-thirds of fourth graders do not read at grade level. While there are many possible reasons for this, including both in-school and out-of-school factors, among them is the lack of a coordinated and connected PreK-3rd grade continuum of learning.

In Minnesota, about 42 percent of all children are not proficient readers by the end of third grade. This rises to 60 percent for children from low-income families, and the statistics are even worse for African American children, Hispanic children, and dual-language learners. While Minnesota has several policies in place that can help to ensure children are on the path to be good readers by the end of third grade, the state still has work to do to close the opportunity and achievement gaps.

A new brief to be released by New America’s Early Education Initiative, a nonprofit policy organization in Washington, D.C., explores Minnesota’s PreK-3rd grade education policies and the role they play in helping school districts, schools, and teachers ensure that all children are on track to reading on grade level by the end of third grade.

Join New America’s Early Education Initiative for a panel discussion with Minnesota stakeholders on how state and local efforts are impacting children’s literacy development. This event is free and open to the public. 

Networking reception to follow.


Abbie Lieberman
Program Associate, Early Education Initiative, New America

Laura Bornfreund
Deputy Director, Early Education Initiative, New America 

Panel Participants:

Bobbie Burnham
Director, Early Learning Services, Minnesota Department of Education, Office of Early Learning

John Millerhagen
Executive Director, Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association

Mary Metelak
Child Care Program Assistant & White Earth Early Learning Scholarship Coordinator, White Earth Nation

Teajai Anderson Schmidt
Assistant Director, Office of Teaching and Learning/School Improvement, Saint Paul Public Schools

Bao Vang
Elementary Principal, Community of Peace Academy, Minnesota Charter School


Laura Bornfreund
Deputy Director, New America Early Education Initiative

This event is made possible through the generous support of the McKnight Foundation.