Illinois statewide literacy plan heads to Senate

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — The Illinois House passed a plan Friday to help young people become proficient readers.

This legislation combines language from several bills lawmakers moved through the statehouse this spring to address literacy.

The Illinois Early Literacy Coalition says almost 40% of fourth graders in the state read below a basic level. However, sponsors and advocates hope Senate Bill 2243 can help lift up every child regardless of their background, zip code or neurodivergence.

The proposal could require the Illinois State Board of Education to develop a statewide literacy plan for school districts by January 31. This new literacy plan would consider core instruction practices and guidance for intervention with at-risk students. 

Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Maywood) and advocates said stakeholders should consider the impact of bilingual education while drafting the literacy plan. 

“It’s been several years of work getting to this point,” said Jessica Handy, executive director of Stand For Children Illinois. “We know that this creates a comprehensive literacy plan that the State Board of Education will develop plus some additional tools over the next few years. So, it’s a discussion in progress.”

Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Maywood) speaks during floor debate on Senate Bill 2243.

ISBE would also be responsible for creating a rubric and literacy plan template for districts by July 1, 2024. The measure calls for educator training opportunities in literacy by January 1, 2025. Handy noted that the training options could be microcredential or online training modules.

“Literacy includes reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and visually representing,” Mayfield explained. “Reading comprehension depends on language comprehension – the ability to not just understand language but to analyze it as well.” 

The plan passed out of the House on a 106-1 vote and now heads to the Senate.

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May 12, 2023 at 07:11PM

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