The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is making significant investments in research to better understand what is needed to unlock potential for Oakland children and support the dreams that families have for their children. Dr. Marc Hernandez from NORC at the University of Chicago has been an important partner in this work by conducting national and local research.

The Foundation values listening and learning, as well as sharing information that will help children in Oakland to be ready for kindergarten and reading successfully by third grade. We know these research findings will inspire dialogue and benefit the work our community is doing together to support children and their families. Below are highlights of our research findings and presentations on:

Oakland Household Survey Results

The Foundation partnered with NORC to complete an extensive, first-of-its-kind survey of Oakland parents. Families were willing and happy to talk—97% agreed to be surveyed and over 400 household interviews were conducted with families who have children up to age six. Explore the interactive reports and learn about:

  • Family Demographics
  • Child Development
  • Parent Well-Being
  • Technology and Communication
  • Neighborhood Engagement

We are sharing what we learned to have it be a resource to other organizations who are also working to support Oakland’s children and parents. Read the interview questions to learn more about what we asked families.

School Readiness for Children Ages Birth to 5

The quality of literacy opportunities has a profound impact on children’s trajectories. To better understand the skills and practices that impact kindergarten readiness, NORC conducted research to address these questions:

  • What are the key skills that predict kindergarten readiness?
  • What programs and best practices have a big impact on kindergarten readiness?
  • How do we know if Oakland children are school ready?

Key takeaway: Children develop within a context—home, community, and early childhood education experiences. Plus, there is a strong research base of what early childhood skills are most predictive of later school success.

View our school readiness for children presentation to learn more about this research and what our community can do to help get every child ready for kindergarten.

Download the full research reports:

Effective Practices in K-2 Literacy Instruction

NORC conducted a nationwide literature review of practices that support K-2 reading success. The aim was to uncover effective practices and programs that helped ensure children are reading successfully by third grade. This research revealed:

“The <PreK-2> lit reviews, and the household survey are going to feed us and guide us for years to come…The data is seriously actionable.”– Participant at our community conversation
  • The most important predictors of kindergarten readiness and later academic success.
  • Evidence-based practices in curriculum, programs and interventions that increased literacy skills in K-2 children.
  • “Active ingredients” in programs that have the biggest impact on kindergarten readiness and third grade reading.
  • Descriptions of how math, social emotional development and approaches to learning are interrelated to support literacy skills.

Key Takeaway: The best “bang for your buck” is to create multi-disciplinary learning opportunities that integrate content learning (science, math) with language arts.

View the presentation to learn more about this research and the effective practices and programs that help ensure children are reading successfully by third grade.

What’s next?

This research is just the start, as there is more exciting work to be done. The Rainin Foundation appreciates the support of our partners to bring this research to the community of Oakland practitioners, educators, funders and community advocates. We are very optimistic about what we can do collectively and what’s to come.