Literacy & Justice for All

Frederick Douglass said: “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

But far too many of our students – almost 40% – still struggle with basic reading skills. Students who can’t read by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Far more than half of youth in the juvenile justice system are struggling readers. This is a huge deal. The literacy crisis is urgent…and SOLVABLE.

We need to do something about literacy. I’m proud to say that together with our partners in the Illinois Early Literacy Coalition and other engaged stakeholders, we have a plan to help ALL students reach their reading potential.

It’s called Literacy & Justice for All, and this set of bills in Springfield provide a suite of policy solutions to help improve reading outcomes.

I hope you’ll join me and urge your leaders in Springfield to support the Literacy & Justice for All bills as a co-sponsor.

Together, these bills will help Illinois join the stampede of other states that have acted to help struggling readers. These bills offer research-backed solutions, including:

  • Requiring the State Board of Education to create a comprehensive literacy plan.
  • Providing funding to schools to help overhaul their literacy programs to evidence-based curriculum.
  • Offering state support to school districts and educators to choose evidence-based curriculum and professional development, along with adding a layer of accountability to teacher preparation programs to ensure new teachers learn about evidence-based reading instruction.

Literacy is complex and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But by being thoughtful and comprehensive in our approach, Illinois can be a national model and show the country how different groups with different priorities can come together to support literacy improvements that meet the needs of all students.

Working together, I know we can help turn around the dire statistics. Truly, Literacy & Justice for All will make a huge impact for all Illinois students. Tell your legislators to support these policies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *