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California Tackles Illiteracy Rate With Inauguration of “Read Across CA Month” in March

State Resolution Promotes Literacy, Launches in Conjunction with Read Across America

LOS ANGELES, Calif., February 22nd, 2012 – This March marks the launch of Read Across California Month, an annual campaign resulting from Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 62 (ACR 62) aiming to reverse California’s illiteracy rate. Assembly Member Julia Brownley, who introduced the resolution, will kick off the campaign at a reading event at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica, on March 2nd, to coincide with the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” Day. On this day, she will challenge California children to pledge to read “30 Minutes for 30 Days,” which is intended to lead to a lifelong habit of reading.

ACR 62 seeks to reverse California’s illiteracy rate after a national literacy rate study found the state to be below a startlingly low national average. According to the Nation’s Report Card, 54 percent of grade four pupils and 64 percent of grade eight California pupils tested in early 2009 scored at or above the basic reading level. However, this is below the national average of 66 percent of all grade four pupils and 74 percent of all grade eight pupils nationally. In addition, 2010 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program for the California Standards Tests reported that only 52 percent of pupils grades two through eleven were proficient in English-Language Arts.

The Read Across California Month kick-off event will take place on Friday, March 2, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Monica (1238 Lincoln Blvd.).   Assembly Member Brownley will speak about the importance of developing a daily reading habit and will read to some of the Club children. Derek Kent, author of the young adult book, “Scary School” will join in the kick-off activities.

 “I was proud to author this resolution because it encourages private and public partnerships to raise awareness of the importance of literacy,” Brownley said. “Californians will read with the rest of America on March 2nd, and they will continue reading for the rest of the month.  By taking the ‘30 Minutes for 30 Days Pledge’ Californians will increase their literacy skills while fostering a love of reading.”

A website has been launched at  www.readacrossca.org to serve as the hub of the awareness campaign.  The website will post special reading events, promote literacy pledges and provide detailed information on organizations partnering to raise awareness on the issue of illiteracy. The campaign can also be found on Facebook (www.facebook.com/readacrosscalifornia)

And Twitter: @readacrossca.

Efforts to enact the resolution are outlined as follows:

  • To encourage private and public sector organizations and agencies to participate by showing pupils that their academic success and literacy level is important to the economy, stability, and prosperity of the State of California.

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  • To encourage stake holders to raise awareness of the importance of literacy by reading to children, while also encouraging students to read independently.
  • To foster a love for reading and encourage young people and citizens in our State to explore the exciting wonders of the world through books by reading thirty minutes a day for thirty days.

Additional sources referenced for passage of this resolution include:

  • The Public Policy Institute of California’s report, “Lessons in Reading Reform: Finding  What  Works” (2010); The State Department of Education; and The National  Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

About ACR 62

ACR 62 was Introduced by Assembly Member Brownley and passed on May 23rd, 2011. Coauthors of the resolution include Assembly Members: Butler, Feuer, Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Beall, Block, Blumenfield, Bonilla, Buchanan, Charles Calderon, Campos, Carter, Chesbro, Conway, Cook, Davis, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eng, Fong, Fuentes, Beth Gaines, Galgiani, Gatto, Gordon, Hagman, Halderman, Hayashi, Roger Hernández, Hill, Huber, Hueso, Jeffries, Jones, Mansoor, Mitchell, Monning, Morrell, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, John A. Pérez, Portantino, Silva, Skinner, Solorio, Swanson, Torres, Wagner, Wieckowski, Williams, and Yamada; Senators: Lieu, Liu, and Pavley.

Chaptered legislation of ACR 62 was sponsored by the Junior League of Los Angeles, Inc.

The following organizations supported the chaptered legislation, ACR 62: California Association of Private School Organizations, California Library Association, California School Boards Association, California State University, California Teachers Association, First 5 Association of California, First 5 LA, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Vocational Service, Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee, Junior League of San Francisco, Inc., National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners – Los Angeles Chapter, Reach Out and Read Los Angeles County Coalition, University of California, California Parent Teacher Associations, Stacy Aldrich, State Librarian, American Academy of Pediatrics. For more information, visit www.readacrossca.org or engage on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/readacrosscalifornia or follow us on Twitter @readacrossca

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Media Contacts:

September Hill
readacrossca@gmail.com

 

Alison Sansone
949-394-1714

Jennifer Vides (Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica)

310-361-8520

Jvides@smbgc.org

 

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