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
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).
VIRGINIA PTA POSITIONS & POLICY LETTERS
- Let’s Close the Reading Gap Webinar (Jan 9, 2023)
- Family Resource Center (University of Virginia)
- PALS (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screener)
- Brick By Brick Reading Research (Emily Solari)
- National Center on Improving Literacy
- Reading Rockets: Reading 101
- The Science of Reading: Defining Guide (free e-book)
VIRGINIA – LITERACY LEGISLATION
- 2023 Literacy Act Expansion (4th – 8th Graders)
- VDOE – Virginia Literacy Act Implementation Updates
- The 2022 Literacy Act (Passed in the 2022 General Assembly Session and fully implemented in the 2024-2025 school year)
- Decoding Dyslexia Virginia
PTA PROGRAMS (#VAPTAReads)
Turn your advocacy for early literacy into programs that connect your families with early reading resources!
- Virginia PTA – Evidence Based Family Reading Toolkit & Resources
- National PTA Family Reading Event Toolkit
- Virginia PTA Spoken Word Contest
- Virginia PTA Read-Aloud: Join Virginia PTA on March 2nd (Read Across America Day) by recording yourself reading a story, and then post your video on social media using the hashtag #VAPTAReads so we can re-share and celebrate reading across Virginia.
QUESTIONS: Email Vice President of Advocacy