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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #21-90
November 12, 2021
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Formally Launches Task Force to Improve Reading and Pledges to Help More Students Secure Library Cards

SACRAMENTO—On Tuesday of this week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond formally launched a task force to improve reading levels for young children. Superintendent Thurmond had previously announced that a task force was being formed that would recommend strategies to ensure that all students can read by third grade by 2026.

The task force held its first meeting this week led by Superintendent Thurmond and several co-chairs Thurmond named to guide the work of the task force. The task force membership includes notable leaders from the fields of pre-K–12 education, higher education, government, and the nonprofit sectors. The task force will meet monthly, and task force members will align around a set of working groups to focus on specific recommendations for actions that can help to improve reading levels of California students. The full task force is expected to make recommendations to Superintendent Thurmond by January 2022 for supporting reading by third grade progress in the state by 2026. Those recommendations may end up being included in new legislation sponsored by State Superintendent Thurmond to improve reading by California students.

Superintendent Thurmond has also pledged to use the work of the task force to increase the number of California students who get library cards and access libraries in California. The more than 1,000 libraries in the state represent a great opportunity to advance the goal of improving reading levels for California students. Thurmond and members of the task force intend to hold outreach events at libraries throughout the state to encourage students and families to sign up for free library cards and to utilize libraries to support reading goals. As part of the reading by third grade strategy, Superintendent Thurmond and task force members have already pledged to get donations of books to one million students and families in need in the state. Anyone wanting to donate to support the book drive can contact

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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