Virginia governor signs Literacy Act into law

Virginia’s Governor signed The Virginia Literacy Act into law on Thursday at the Library of Virginia in downtown Richmond.
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 3:35 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2022 at 5:41 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia’s governor signed The Virginia Literacy Act into law on Thursday at the Library of Virginia in downtown Richmond.

“For too long, we have condemned generations of children to a diminished future because we failed to teach them to read, to read. This law changes that,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin, (R) Virginia.

It’s a bipartisan effort to help address a growing concern inside the classroom, lagging reading rates.

“The more we learn the science of learning, the better we can align our curriculum and move forward to address every child where they are because some children struggle,” said State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, (D) 9th District.

The new law does many things, including training teachers to better spot issues, create student reading plans for the home, and requiring one reading specialist for every 550 students in grades K-3.

“Don’t ask me to grow a garden without seeds. And when students are not able to participate in class and learn, they act out, they get disciplined, they get labeled,” said Inett Dabney, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School Principal.

Out of the 508 students at MLK, Jr. Middle School, 385 are reading below their grade level.

“We were able to look and look at best practices and say, you know what, there’s a better path forward for our children and our teachers and our families,” said Del. Carrie Coyner, (R) 62nd District.

Currently, city schools report only 35% of students across the division are proficient in reading.

“Far too many Virginians are not learning to read by third or even by fifth grade. Unless property addresses and supported these reading challenges don’t go away when students come through our door,” said Dabney.

The new law goes into effect July 1 to help with the upcoming school year.

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