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Reps. Yarmuth, Polis Introduce Comprehensive Literacy Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) and Congressman Jared Polis (CO-2) introduced the Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act, a critical education reform measure designed to prepare students to succeed in the 21st century economy. The LEARN Act (H.R. 2706) provides a strong federal investment for states and localities to develop and implement comprehensive literacy plans for children from birth through 12th grade.

“Literacy is the foundation for success in every aspect of our economy and society,” Congressman Yarmuth said. “The LEARN Act would make key federal investments in literacy to help ensure today’s students are prepared to lead the workforce of the future and keep our nation at the forefront of the global economy.”

“Students need access to high-quality literacy instruction, as well as enjoyable and rigorous texts in order to develop a love for reading and build a foundation for success,” Congressman Polis said. “I am proud to join Representative Yarmuth in working to provide students the support they need from birth through high school graduation so that they are able to become avid readers.”

WATCH: Congressman Yarmuth introduces the LEARN Act on the House Floor.

Research clearly demonstrates that a literacy-rich environment beginning in early childhood is an important prerequisite for high school graduation, college success, and workforce readiness. But according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, two-thirds of all 4th and 8th graders do not read at a proficient level.

Underachievement in literacy at all educational levels contributes significantly to our nation’s high dropout rate: Every year, approximately 1.2 million students fail to graduate from high school, costing the country more than $300 billion over the lifetime of these individuals.

The LEARN Act would support the creation and expansion of successful, high-quality literacy initiatives and require a rigorous review process to ensure those programs are benefitting students. The legislation would also support ongoing professional development for instructors and additional instruction for struggling readers and writers, including English language learners and students with disabilities.

Congressmen Yarmuth and Polis worked closely with national literacy leaders to craft legislation that would meet the needs of students regardless of their backgrounds or abilities.


Support for the LEARN Act:

"The nation's current approach to teaching reading is analogous to a builder helping to lay the foundation of a house, but not following through to assist with the walls, windows, doors, and roof. “By introducing the LEARN Act, Representatives Yarmuth and Polis have outlined a comprehensive approach to teaching reading and writing that would move away from the current practice of siloing literacy instruction based on grade level and toward an approach that supports children from cradle through commencement and ensures that they have the literacy skills necessary to succeed in college and career.” – Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former Governor of West Virginia

“We are extremely pleased that Representatives Yarmuth and Polis have reintroduced the LEARN Act. As instructional leaders in schools, principals will receive the professional development and support necessary to drive school-wide literacy initiatives to ensure that all students receive the appropriate literacy instruction and support as they progress through all levels of their education.” – JoAnn Bartoletti, Executive Director, National Association of Secondary School Principals

“The LEARN Act would ensure that millions of children with learning difficulties and disabilities gain the reading and writing skills they need to be successful in school, work, and life. Because of its focus on ensuring that school leaders and their teams may be trained to provide evidence-based instruction and intervention through multi-tier systems of support, incorporating universal design for learning and other best practices, the National Center for Learning Disabilities believes the LEARN Act will make a measureable difference for all children who struggle to read.” – James H. Wendorf, Executive Director, National Center for Learning Disabilities

“The National Association of Elementary School Principals applauds the House introduction of the LEARN Act, and urges lawmakers to recognize the importance of comprehensive literacy programs to improve our nation’s schools. Elementary and middle level principals know that strong literacy skills are essential for student success, and effective instruction must begin in the early years to lay a foundation for learning. The bill will provide a coordinated system to improve literacy instruction in schools and give principals the tools needed to help every student obtain the reading and writing skills that are critical to their success.” – Gail Connelly, Executive Director, National Association of Elementary School Principals