Literacy Instruction

Early literacy development is an essential building block to a student’s future language development and educational success. Beginning in fourth grade students use reading to learn other subjects, and therefore, mastery of reading becomes a critical component in their ability to keep up academically.  Studies have shown that children who cannot read at grade level by the start of fourth grade are four times less likely to graduate on-time compared to their grade-level peers, which can reduce their earnings potential and opportunities for success.

Nationally, the percentage of fourth graders in public school who can read proficiently has hovered at around 35 percent. Since 2002, the percentage of Virginia’s fourth graders who are reading at or above a proficient level has hovered around 38 percent.1  The COVID pandemic has directly impacted the ability of students to read proficiency by fourth grade.

Studies indicate that explicit, systematic instruction in the following five essential components of early reading instruction are key to reading success:

  • Phonemic awareness: Understanding that words are composed of sounds
  • Phonics: Students learn to break-down, decode or sound-out a word
  • Fluency: Ability to read accurately, rapidly, and with expression
  • Vocabulary: The range of words a student understands orally and in print
  • Reading Comprehension: Process of determining meaning of the text

Virginia PTA re-affirms our long-standing support for the importance of early literacy programs and urges the adoption a comprehensive statewide approach to literacy that relies on scientifically-based reading research and uses evidence-based practices for instruction, intervention, and assessments


During the 2021-22 school year Virginia PTA advocacy helped pass The 2022 Literacy Act. This transformative change in literacy instruction requires educator preparation programs and school divisions to revise
their literacy methodologies to align with the latest, evidence-based reading instruction, intervention, and assessment practices. The legislation also provides parents with evidence-based instructional materials that they can use at home to help their children succeed and increased reading specialists for Kindergarten to 3rd graders ($63M).



Turn your advocacy for early literacy into programs that connect your families with early reading resources! 

Notable Dates
-Sept 8 is International Literacy Day
-October is Dyslexia Awareness Month
-March is National Reading Month
-April is National Poetry Month

QUESTIONS: Email Vice President of Advocacy