News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray announced that the investments she worked to include in the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program made it into the Labor, Health, and Human Services Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations bill. This program provides essential funding to states and local education agencies to build an infrastructure of literacy supports, including a state literacy team of experts, practitioners, and stakeholders who work together to coordinate a state literacy plan to ensure high-quality instruction in reading and writing from early childhood through high school graduation. 

"I am proud to fight for literacy programs that help schools across America teach their students how to read and write," Senator Murray said. “Striving Readers invests in our students’ literacy early, and it stays with them throughout their educational  career to make sure nobody falls through the cracks, and every student is prepared to succeed in the 21st century economy.”

Unfortunately, funding for this literacy program was eliminated in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, but Senator Murray worked to restore significant funding for this critical program.

More than 8 million students in grades 4-12 read below grade level. Only 32 percent of America’s 8th grade students, and roughly the same percentage of 12th graders, meet standards for reading “proficiency” for their grade level, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Striving Readers provides for a strong federal investment in high quality literacy instruction that helps states improve programs to strengthen the literacy skills of all students and helps ensure that students at risk of dropping out because they read and write below grade level receive the literacy interventions they need to earn a high school diploma. Striving Readers was first piloted in 2004 as a Title I demonstration program funded solely through the appropriations process.

Specifically, the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program:

  • Responds to a nation-wide need for literacy instruction and high-quality support for students at all age, development and grade levels, beginning in early childhood and continuing through high school graduation;
  • Provides high-quality, research-based professional development opportunities and support for literacy coaches;
  • Enhances states’ capacity to improve literacy instruction through the creation of state literacy leadership teams; and
  • Supports promising and innovative practices to improve literacy and writing, especially for students reading and writing below grade level.