Sending Office: Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson
Sent By:
Justin.Maturo@mail.house.gov

Support Early Childhood Literacy Initiatives in FY19!

Fund the “Innovative Approaches to Literacy” Grant Program

Programmatic Request | Submission instructions to circulate at a later date

Sign-on deadline: March 14, 2018

Submission Deadline: March, 19, 2018 

 

Dear Colleague:

We invite you to join us in signing onto the letter below to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to request
LEVEL FUNDING for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.  IAL is administered through the Department of Education and authorized in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, awarding competitive grants to national not-for-profit
organizations, school libraries, and local educational authorities to provide books, 21st century high-quality childhood literacy activities and materials, and evidenced-based technological integration and family/parental engagement programming
to children and families in high-need communities.

This competitive grant program was established during the FY12 appropriations process through a member language request.  In the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, IAL was codified as an authorized program and funded at $26.3 million in FY17.   Since its inception,
IAL has awarded over 126 grants in more than 28 states. For a complete listing of the grantees, please visit
https://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovapproaches-literacy/awards.html.

Unfortunately, far too many children in poverty face prohibitive barriers to access age-appropriate, high-quality reading materials and adequate learning facilities. Two-thirds of children living in poverty have no books at home, hindering their ability
to learn critical reading skills, fostering chronic disadvantages for already underserved youth.

By providing funding for age-appropriate book distribution, early literacy services, technological integration and support for literacy activities, professional development for educators, culturally responsive literacy workshops for parents/families, and
effective school library programs, the IAL program helps to ensure that children enter school ready to learn and best positioned for success.

We ask you to maintain this investment in the Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.

To sign on, please contact Justin Maturo (Justin.Maturo@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s office (ext: 5-8885), or Alex Ortiz (Alex.Ortiz@mail.house.gov)
in Rep. Don Young’s office.

 

Sincerely,

 

Eddie Bernice Johnson                                                            Don Young                                         

Member of Congress                                                               Member of Congress  

 

James P. McGovern                                                                 Tom MacArthur                                  

Member of Congress                                                               Member of Congress

 

——

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

As your Subcommittee considers Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations, we urge you to
maintain level funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grant program administered by the Department of Education, authorized in the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA).  IAL provides competitive awards to school libraries and
national not-for-profit organizations, including partnerships that reach families outside of local education agencies (LEAs) and children and families in high-need, underserved communities.  By providing age-appropriate books, supporting parental engagement
programs, and reinforcing professional development, the IAL program helps to ensure that children enter school ready to learn and best positioned for success.

Since its inception in Fiscal Year 2012, 126 IAL grants have been awarded to non-profit organizations and school districts across every region of the US.  Some examples of IAL grant activities include:

  • Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, NC, Schools (WSFCS) received an Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grant to support school librarians implementing technology tools to build literacy skills in young children and increase family engagement. The
    WSFCS program is increasing access to print and digital resources for youth, while developing targeted age and skill appropriate material. The grant is also supporting expanded summer media hours, distribution of material for home libraries as well as supporting
    training for school librarians and teachers. With over 52,000 students, WSFCS is the fifth largest school system in North Carolina.

 

  • Reach Out and Read (ROR) and Save the Children partnered to engage schools, families and communities in creating literacy-rich environments for children in economically disadvantaged rural areas of Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky and South Carolina.Reach Out
    and Read leveraged the existing healthcare infrastructure to promote early literacy and language development among children in 16 counties. In Year 2 of the grant, 163 medical providers in 42 clinics delivered developmentally appropriate anticipatory guidance
    at 43,000 well-child visits.Children received new books and parents learned how reading, singing and rhyming help facilitate healthy brain development and language acquisition.

 

  • Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) used IAL funds to launch a two-year research study focused on reducing the “summer learning slide” for children living in poverty.The study enabled RIF to work with 41 school districts in 16 states, reaching 33,000 second, third
    and fourth-grade students and their teachers. Classrooms received STEM-themed book collections, teachers received professional development and literacy resources, and students got books to take home and keep.Fifty-seven percent of the students involved in
    the study showed gains in reading proficiency over the summer.

Access to high-quality literacy programming and resources remains a critical component of early childhood literacy. For American families living in poverty and limited to the services of high-need local educational authorities, access to quality reading
materials and adequate learning facilities is prohibitive,  fostering chronic disadvantages for already underserved youth.

The 114th Congress took important steps in supporting the needs of disadvantaged students by providing IAL authorization through the passage of ESSA and funding through appropriations since 2012.  From Alaska, to New York, and Kentucky to California,
this important appropriation provides funding for initiatives that include book distribution, early literacy services, technological integration and support for literacy activities, professional development for educators, culturally responsive literacy workshops
for parents/families, and effective school library programs.

We ask you to maintain this investment in the Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Education, Family Issues

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