DENVER — Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 – Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia today announced the state’s plan to help ensure every child in Colorado learns to read. The Colorado Reads: The Early Literacy Initiative report was released as part of the week-long events planned for Colorado Literacy Week, Feb. 27 – March 2.
“We kicked off Colorado Literacy Week to draw attention to the critical importance of early learning and putting Colorado’s children on a path to reading success,” Hickenlooper said. “We know reading success is a key indicator of both current and future academic success. This plan incorporates statewide feedback calling for the entire community, from families to schools to businesses, to support childhood literacy. Working together, we can make a difference.”
“More than anything else, Colorado Reads: The Early Childhood Literacy Initiative is a call to action. It is a call for all of us to get involved in some way – large or small – to support children in the essential life skill of learning to read,” Garcia said. “By joining efforts through community-based initiatives, policy makers, community members and parents, families and caregivers, can all contribute to an increase in third grade literacy rates among all children.”
The plan calls for statewide collaboration between parents, families, caregivers, educators, local school districts, businesses and community groups. Also, state agencies will work to identify and eliminate health and development barriers, educate and empower parents, maximize access to preschool programs, improve early learning program quality and strengthen the early childhood workforce.
Legislative priorities in the plan include the creation of an Office of Early Childhood and the co-location of programs strengthening interagency partnerships and collaboration to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of childhood and youth supports, services and programs in Colorado. Additionally, the Colorado Early Literacy Act, HB12-1238 (Massey & Hamner/ Johnston & Spence) strives to reinforce early literacy policy and education in kindergarten through third grade.
A copy of Colorado Reads: The Early Literacy Initiative can be found at www.colorado.gov/ltgovernor.