Last week, the Illinois Early Literacy Coalition held a day-long retreat where over 40 literacy advocates came together. With a wide range of life experiences, from regions across Illinois, we learned from each other and broadened our perspectives. Speaking for myself, I emerged feeling super energized to continue advocating for improved literacy instruction in Illinois…and, also, a little overwhelmed by the depth of the problem and the complexity of potential solutions.
One thing is clear: with a third of Illinois’ 4th graders reading below “basic” on the Nation’s Report Card, we have major work to do. Every student – no matter their background or zip code – deserves equitable access to evidence-based literacy instruction that meets their needs. Other states have gotten serious about literacy and adopted comprehensive plans to improve outcomes, with varying degrees of success. Illinois’ time to get serious about literacy is NOW.
If you want to be a part of the solution, add your name to the Illinois Early Literacy Coalition. We welcome people from all walks of life, who live up and down Illinois, who work in schools or not, who struggled to read or excelled, who speak one language or many, whose kids started reading before preschool or needed years of tutoring. There is a place in this coalition for every Illinoisan who is committed to advocating for equitable reading outcomes. Join us.
P.S. – I wrote this blog post a few weeks ago that summarizes my experience as I began digging into reading policy. If this is new to you, you might find it interesting. Or helpful. Or controversial. Either way, let me know if you have feedback.