9/22/2014 10:14:43 AM
Students who master the fundamentals of reading at an early age are better prepared for future academic success. As our kids are exposed to more advanced concepts their ability to learn becomes increasingly linked to their literacy. In math classes, students may be asked to do word problems, while in a science or history class they may be assigned a reading out of a textbook - all of which require strong language skills.
To help our students develop the strong reading skills they need, we launched the bipartisan "Read Well by Third Grade" in 2011. Since then, we have invested $150 million in high-impact literacy programs that helping ensure all Minnesota students are developing the reading skills they need for academic success and bright futures.
These new investments are beginning to pay off for Minnesota's youngest learners. In 2013, our fourth graders ranked tenth in nation for reading. This marks a significant improvement over previous years. On the same test in 2011, Minnesota's fourth graders ranked 22nd. This progress is a good start, but to make additional progress, we made additional investments in high-impact initiatives this year:
English Language Learners- This year, we invested in efforts to improve the academic success and language skills for our English learners. This new funding, coupled with the policy reforms to the English Language Learner system in the education policy bill will help students mastery the English language - preparing them to excel in the classroom and beyond.
Minnesota Reading Corps - The Read Corps is a proven way to improve reading ability and comprehension among our students. To help more students get the assistance they need to succeed, we invested additional resources in the program.
Early Childhood Family Education - This year, we invested in Early Childhood Family Education, which provides early childhood education for families with children between birth and kindergarten age. In addition to the funding, the bill includes reforms that are designed to ensure Early Childhood Family Education programming gets to the families and parents who really need it most.
School Readiness Initiative - Minnesota's school readiness program helps ensure that all children are prepared to enter Kindergarten with the skills and behaviors necessary to be successful in future learning. Our 2014 supplemental budget provides additional funding for the initiative to help prepare more young Minnesotans for school.