Support Early Literacy for All Children!

February 26, 2024

Posted By
E3 Elevate Early Education

Dear Advocates:

It is budget time and legislators need to hear from you again! Thank you for all of your support of the literacy policy initiatives that are critical to building, implementing + investing in the Virginia Literacy Act(VLA) to help more children read by third grade.

Recent data tells us that 1 in 6 kindergartners are below the literacy benchmark. Over 50% of students in K-2nd grade are at high to moderate risk of reading difficulties. It has been heartbreaking to hear the stories of students struggling to read in elementary and middle school from parents, grandparents, teachers and reading specialists from Charlottesville, Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Roanoke.

Many of the policy initiatives below were included in the committee budgets passed by the House and Senate this week. There is still work to do TAKE ACTION to send your letter and ask key legislators to support the policy initiatives below to help our children, families, teachers + schools.

The Virginia Language and Literacy Screener System (VALLSS)
Item #117 #4h

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.

Coaching, Professional Development, Technical Assistance and Curriculum Review
Item #117 #4h

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          

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 (VALLSS) 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)
HB 1075

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, 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 dollars.

We cannot thank you enough for all of your support. Together, WE will make early literacy a top priority + help EVERY child read in VA.