To the Editor:
Comprehensive literacy learning across ages, grades, and subject areas is absolutely necessary for improving student learning outcomes and assuring school success. Because literacy begins at birth, support for development of young children and for early-childhood education is an essential part of a comprehensive approach to literacy. Alignment across grades K-12 and across all subjects offers new scope and depth to literacy learning. Thanks to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray for recognizing through the proposed Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation, or LEARN, Act that early-childhood-education programs, students, teachers, schools, and states all must be supported in emphasizing writing and reading as foundational components of all learning (“Literacy Education: The Foundation for All Learning,” May 11, 2011).
The LEARN Act would provide: 1) continuous professional-learning opportunities for educators at all learning levels; 2) appropriate interventions for struggling writers and readers, including English language-learner students and students with disabilities; and 3) aligned literacy instruction across science, mathematics, English/language arts, social studies, and other core subjects. Only with systemic attention to literacy, with transparent evaluation useful to educators and learners, can the United States serve its students in becoming ready for college, careers, and citizenship.
The following groups support the LEARN Act because of its comprehensive scope; its commitment of federal support to states and districts serving all children and students, but especially those in high-poverty areas; and its clear statement about the value of literate citizens for the healthy future of our country: the Alliance for Excellent Education, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the International Reading Association, the Knowledge Alliance, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Reading Recovery Council of North America Inc., and the First Focus Campaign for Children.
Director, Washington Office
National Council of Teachers of English
A version of this article appeared in the June 08, 2011 edition of Education Week as LEARN Act Supported by Education Groups