May 9, 2022

Reading Readiness: The Virginia Literacy Act Passes Unanimously

Closeup of Students reading in classroom

RICHMOND— There’s a lot of pressure in third grade both for the students and the teachers, and it’s been that way for at least the past decade. In 2012, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a study, “Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation,” which found that students who didn’t read proficiently by third grade were four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma, compared to peers who were proficient readers.   

Longitudinal study conductor Donald Hernandez, who at the time of the research worked as a professor of sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and as senior advisor to the Foundation for Child Development, stated in 2012: “These findings suggest we need to work in three arenas: improving the schools where these children are learning to read, helping the families weighed down by poverty, and encouraging better federal, state, and local policy to improve the lot of both schools and families.”  

This year, the Virginia General Assembly pursued reading challenges head-on. In a bipartisan effort, both Democrats and Republicans supported the Virginia Literacy Act, which Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed into law in April.