The Right to Read

June 19, 2023

Posted By
E3 Elevate Early Education

Dear Friends:

I attended a screening of the Right to Read at Norfolk State University last week. This is a documentary YOU do not want to miss. I cannot stop thinking about the documentary, it was masterful in identifying the many ways we have failed children, teachers and families. At the same time, it was a beacon of light and hope of how we can and should do better.

We pushed really hard in partnership with Delegate Coyner, Senator Lucas, UVA and many others for The VA Literacy Act legislation and funding. UVA and school divisions are at a critical point in implementing the policy that focuses on the science of reading. As part of our work, we are preparing to launch the EARLY LITERACY MATTERS NOW awareness campaign devoted to the importance of early literacy and making sure EVERY child is reading by third grade. Our team is in the midst of conducting listening sessions across the state to hone in on what our policy agenda and advocacy will focus on for the next General Assembly Session. We are hearing consistently that literacy and how we prepare our teachers needs to be a top priority.  

One of E3’s strengths is to bring together business, civic, philanthropic leaders, policymakers and other stakeholders (top down and grassroots) to identify problems and innovative solutions that lead to real change for children. The director of the film has graciously given E3 the license to have screening events around the Commonwealth. We are working with civic leaders across Virginia to set up these events that will kick off our commitment to creating a literacy movement in Virginia.

Reading matters. Virginia is behind other states like Mississippi and Tennessee that have made literacy a top priority and have results to show for their efforts.

  • 1 in 4 children in Virginia are not meeting literacy benchmarks.
  • More Black, Hispanic and disadvantaged children are at high risk for reading and math difficulties.
  • By third grade if a child is not reading on grade level, they are 4x more likely to drop out of school.

It is time to take bold and decisive action. We must act with urgency. Join the literacy movement and act TODAY:

  • Host a screening event in your community in partnership with E3. Email to get started. 
  • Sponsor our awareness campaign.
  • Spread the word and recruit your friends to join us.
  • Encourage friends, family and others to sign up for awareness and advocacy alerts.