Here in Illinois, it is a fundamental injustice that just 35% of 4th grade students are proficient or advanced readers. Students who do not read well by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school and six times more likely to drop out of high school if they are from a low-income family. Aside from the academic consequences, struggling readers are also far more likely to end up in the criminal justice system: over 60% of prison inmates cannot read and 85% of juveniles in the court system are struggling readers.
Most states across the country have taken steps to help struggling readers, from improving educator preparation programs, to requiring evidence-based literacy curriculum and screenings, to funding literacy coaches and professional development in evidence-based instruction practices.
Dedicated advocates -- parents, teachers, school psychologists, legal advocates, civil rights activists, and school administrators -- have seen the impact of inadequate early literacy instruction and are working to change it.
Stand for Children is partnering with dozens of individuals and organizations in a newly formed coalition that is committed to empowering educators with the professional development, curriculum, and support they need to strengthen literacy instruction. SB 1772 (Belt/Mayfield) has been filed as a vehicle for an amendment that advocates are drafting (which is still in the works but will NOT include mandatory retention as some states’ policies have).
Download the fact sheet to learn more.
Read this Chicago Tribune op-ed from Executive Director Mimi Rodman and literacy professors Dr. Nell K. Duke and Dr. Ernest Morrell about improving literacy for Black boys.