School Attendance

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Did you know each time a child is absent one day, it can take 3 days to catch up?

Making sure that children show up for school every day is one of the best things parents can do to ensure that their children read proficiently by the end of third grade. Research shows that children who are chronically absent from school – missing 10 percent of the school year or more (about 18 days) for any reason- in kindergarten and first grade are far less likely to read well by the end of third grade. This is true whether the absences are excused or unexcused, whether they happen all at once or are spread out across the year. Parents often are unaware of the corrosive effects of absenteeism and how quickly absences add up to academic trouble in the early grades.

Getting your child to school on-time, every day, unless they are sick, is something that you can do to ensure your child has a chance to succeed in school.


Established in 2010, Attendance Works is a national and state initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success starting with school entry. Cedar Valley Readers is partnered with Attendance Works to encourage families and community agencies to intervene when attendance is a problem for children or particular schools. While others can help, parents are the bottom line. You can promote good attendance when you:

  1. Establish and stick to the basic routines (going to bed early, waking up on time, etc.) that will help your child develop the habit of on-time attendance.
  2. Talk to your child about why going to school every day is critical and important unless they are sick. If your child seems reluctant to go to school, find out why and work with the teacher, administrator or afterschool provider to get them excited about going to school.
  3. Come up with back-up plans for who to turn to (another family member, a neighbor or fellow parents) to help getting your child to school if something comes up (e.g. another child gets sick, your car breaks down, etc.).
  4. Reach out for help if you are experiencing tough times (e.g. transportation, unstable housing, loss of a job, health problems) that make it difficult to get your child to school. Other parents, your child’s teacher, principal, social worker, school nurse, afterschool providers or community agencies can help you problem solve or connect you to a needed resource.
  5. If your child is absent, work with the teacher to make sure she or he has an opportunity to learn and make up for the academics missed.

2 absences per month = less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Visit to learn about what you can do to help kids succeed in school, and in life. #AbsencesAddUpp

Missing a day of school here and there may not seem like the end of the world, but kids who miss just two days of school per month are less likely to graduate from high school—even when those absences are excused or understandable. Visit to learn how to help ensure our kids’ futures.

For more resources relating to school attendance, check out Cedar Valley Readers’ other initiatives. Cedar Valley Readers offers a variety of events and learning opportunities for parents and families. Read more →