Help Secure A Big Win for VA Kids

February 16, 2024

Posted By
E3 Elevate Early Education

Dear Advocates:

The big game may be over, but it is “halftime” at the General Assembly. If we take action and run the right plays, we can secure big wins for our children, families, teachers and schools.

The first eight years are a critical time in a child’s language and literacy development. A child’s ability to read is a strong predictor of success in academics and in life. When a child cannot read by third grade, they will struggle in middle school, in high school, in higher education and in the workforce. According to the SOL Reading data, more than half of Virginia’s third graders failed reading. The implementation of the Virginia Literacy Act and getting more quality books in the hands of children is a win for us all.

Below are game-changing budget amendments and investments that will help more children read proficiently by third grade:

The Virginia Language and Literacy Screener System (VALLSS) – Item #117 #30H

Early literacy screeners from preschool to third grade help teachers understand the skills children have in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and listening comprehension. They can help detect reading difficulties early while providing instructional information to teachers and strategies for families in English and Spanish. Funding is for preschool through eighth grade to develop and implement a statewide screener. 

Coaching, Professional Development, Technical Assistance and Curriculum Review – Item #117 #30H

Literacy coaches provide support in the classroom to improve instruction and student reading achievement. The curriculum review process focuses on adoption of high-quality instructional materials aligned with the science of reading and the reading SOLS. It includes core and supplemental curricula materials. 

Literacy Innovation and Impact Pilots – Item 124 #13H & Item 124 #38S

The pilot program in each superintendent region will develop best practice and system change models to implement the Virginia Literacy Act. The pilots will align with the science of reading to support students, teachers, school leaders and families to help children read by third grade. The literacy screener and SOL reading data will individualize instruction for students, show growth and measure improvement. There will be a family engagement component in English and Spanish.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Virginia (DPIL) – Item 124 #23H & Item 124 #12S

DPIL is a book gifting program that mails books to children from birth to age five, regardless of their income, to inspire a love of reading. Washington, D.C. and 19 states have expanded to statewide programs. Currently, 50,000 children are enrolled and receiving books in Virginia. An additional 350,000 children in Virginia need quality books. This program is a shared cost between the state, the Dollywood Foundation and private donors.

Learn more about E3’s policy initiatives for 2024 →.

Take Action Today →