April 26, 2022
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Convening All 1,000-Plus California School Districts and Charters to Focus Literacy Efforts
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced a meeting and call to action, for all California school districts and charters to meet on May 20 to discuss statewide and schoolwide efforts to ensure all students learn to read by third grade. In conjunction with the event, Calling All Schools: The Plan to Ensure all Students Learn to Read by Third Grade, each of California’s 1,000-plus school districts and charters will be asked to commit to the goal of ensuring that all students will learn to read by third grade by the year 2026. Districts and charters will also be able to share and receive support to help implement their literacy efforts.
“It’s urgent for the state, and all our schools, to redouble efforts to help students recover and expand literacy skills amidst national reports showing declines in student reading levels during the pandemic,” said Thurmond. “In addition to sponsoring AB 2465 (Bonta), AB 2498 (Bonta), and SB 952 (Limón) to expand literacy programs, literacy interventions and fund more dual language immersion schools, we’re working with the Governor to fund reading coaches and specialists for our schools. I also want to let our schools know that we’re here to directly support them, and we’re excited for this opportunity to convene all our districts to share resources, provide technical assistance, and help all our schools put students on the path to success.”
An emphasis on literacy and reading comprehension as part of early childhood education is paramount in the effort to ensure all students are not left behind when it comes to reading and language-based skills. It is also key to putting students on the path to graduate and attain success in future careers. When students do not learn to read by third grade, they are at greater risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline.
At the May 20 meeting, districts are invited to identify areas where they may need help in meeting the goal of ensuring students learn to read by third grade by 2026. Technical assistance and tools for reaching this goal will be discussed in the meeting, along with updates regarding all state resources that can be accessed now and those expected to be available in the future.
Last September, Thurmond launched an initiative to ensure students learn to read by third grade by 2026. In order to advance this goal, Thurmond pledged to secure 1 million book donations for students in need. Through a partnership with Renaissance Learning, Inc., students downloaded more than 5 million free online books as part of the literacy efforts. Thurmond has also pledged to help secure passage of resources in the proposed state budget and legislation as well as to work with community libraries to expand student library memberships and access as part of the strategy to promote literacy in the state.
Districts and charters can register in advance for the May 20 meeting , happening from 11 a.m. to noon via Zoom. Anyone wishing to support school literacy efforts or the initiative to ensure that students learn to read by third grade may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100