Literacy is a top priority because of YOU!

March 14, 2024

Posted By
E3 Elevate Early Education

Dear Advocates + Friends:

We cannot thank you enough for the calls, emails, letters and texts you sent to make early literacy a top priority during the 2024 General Assembly session. It truly was a team effort and it worked! There were hundreds of letters sent to legislators.

Thanks in part to your advocacy, the legislature made a strong commitment to early literacy with robust bipartisan support in the House and Senate. This led to $21m in state investment and new legislation to help more children read by third grade. The introduced budget included funding to expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) across Virginia and it remained in the budget. The legislation to establish Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Virginia program passed.

Below are the strategic investments to implement the Virginia Literacy Act and help more children read:

The Virginia Language and Literacy Screener System (VALLSS)
Early literacy screeners from preschool to third grade help teachers understand the skills children have in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and listening comprehension. VALLSS can help detect reading difficulties early, provide 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 through the biennium. $6.9m first year and $4.9m second year

Coaching, Professional Development, Technical Assistance and Curriculum Review
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. $3.4m first year and $3.4m second year

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Virginia (DPIL)
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. 19 states and DC have expanded to statewide programs. Currently, 64,677 children and families are enrolled and receiving books in Virginia. 250,000 children in Virginia need access to quality books. This program is a shared cost between the state, the Dollywood Foundation and private dollars. $1.1m first year and $1.1.m second year

As you’ve heard us say, other states have only seen success and more children reading by third grade when the investment is long term. We must continue to invest year after year, as other states have done. This is a BIG WIN for our children, families, teachers and schools.

At this point, all bills and the budget are being reviewed by the governor. We will continue to keep you in the loop about the reconvened session.

With gratitude,

Lara Major, Chair, E3:Elevate Early Education
Lisa Howard, President + CEO, E3: Elevate Early Education + The New E3 School