There’s no mistaking they’re brothers. But they have their differences. For instance, 5-year-old Roy spends three hours a day at the new Earl Boyles preschool, which didn’t exist when Dude was his age.
“It’s pretty clear that Dude didn’t have that preschool experience,” said their mom, Debra Rabedeau.
Dude, now in second grade, requires extra assistance in reading.
Research shows preschool builds a foundation for literacy. Oregon students who are strong readers by third grade graduate 77 percent of the time. If they’re not? The Oregon graduation rate is 53 percent.
“Kids who are in high-quality preschool — particularly low-income kids — are far more likely to graduate from high school,” said Swati Adarkar of the Portland-based Children’s Institute. “They’re far more likely to go on to college, they’re far more likely not to need special education as they go on in the elementary grades. These are all huge game-changers.”
Around the corner, his brother, Dude, sat in a room dedicated to helping struggling readers.
If you look at how many kids need help with reading, it’s clear preschool is making a difference, said Lindsay DiFazio, a reading teacher.
“Our second-grade classroom is completely full and they’re staying there. They’re making slow but steady growth,” she said.
But it’s a different story for Earl Boyles’ kindergarteners. Many of them were part of a preschool pilot last year.
“Our kindergarteners — because they’ve had those foundational skills presented — are picking them up, much more rapidly,” DiFazio said.
Just peek into her room at kindergarten time. It’s less than half-full. Dude’s brother Roy enters kindergarten next year, along with Earl Boyles’ largest preschool class so far.