Did you know that 3 out of 4 students (grades K-2) in Virginia are reported to be at medium to high risk for not being able to read at grade level? In response to recent early literacy data, The Virginia Literacy Act was passed to ensure all students K-3 will receive evidence-based literacy instruction and intervention to improve outcomes and reverse the literacy trends that were emerging since before the pandemic across the Commonwealth. This requires the use of early literacy curricula that is heavily research-based. Additionally, divisions will be tasked to develop a literacy plan and provide professional development grounded in science-based reading research to support educators, effective the beginning of the 2024-25 school year.
How to Prepare
The Virginia Department of Education has launched a VDOE Virginia Literacy Act (VLA) website housed with up-to-date information and resources, including an Overview of the Virginia Literacy Act webinar. Try to visit periodically as VDOE is expected to continually provide updates, guidance, and tools before full implementation.
This means getting comfortable with course correction and change. Although divisions are not expected to develop literacy plans yet, as educators, we can take advantage of professional learning opportunities related to science-based reading instruction now.
Spread the Word
Inform other educators and families about the Virginia Literacy Act and what to expect. We need to work together as partners to do this important work. Inform families there are plans so they too will have access to free online evidence-based literacy instruction resources to support their child’s literacy development at home.
Apply to join the Virginia Literacy Act Advisory Work Group. The role of the Virginia Literacy Act Advisory Work Group will be to regularly review and advise on programs, systems and regulations related to the VLA and related efforts. Educators spanning from preschool to middle school, administrators, parents, system leaders, and community members are invited to submit applications for these positions.