Gov. DeWine signs executive order to improve literacy for Ohio children

Ohio’s governor is looking at ways to help with low literacy rates in the state.
Ohio’s governor is looking at ways to help with low literacy rates in the state.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:34 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed an executive order to improve children’s literacy rates. And one local organization is part of the program ...

Governor DeWine signed an executive order creating the governor’s literacy challenge. The goal of the order is to get kids in the state reading better.

As of right now, more than half of all entering kindergarteners (over 61,000 children) are not on-track in language and literacy. And literacy rates amongst different age groups are showing low rates as well. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which assesses students across the country on reading proficiency, shows concerning results for Ohio students, with only 34.56% of fourth-grade students and 33.13% of eighth-grade students proficient in reading.

More than 11 million books have been sent out by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Ohio families. The Marietta Community Foundation is part of the program.

Officials there say they are seeing an increase in children using Dolly’s free library.

“In March of 2022, we had 940 children enrolled. Today, we have 1,498. That’s a 63 percent increase! So, we’re seeing a real desire from families to read with their children. They want to sit down and have that story time and teach them how to read before they’re even going to school,” says Marietta Community Foundation marketing and communications director, Courtney Wentz.

According to the order, more than half of Ohio children under the age of five are registered in the Imagination Library. For more information to get registered, you can click this link to find out more.

Other outlines the Literacy Challenge will be adding are:

  • Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grant to support schools implementing Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement in becoming model literacy sites.
  • Reaching All Students Through Language and Literacy to provide targeted support for accelerated learning in districts most impacted by the pandemic and which serve students of color, English language learners, and students from rural areas.
  • Each Child Reads Grant to identify and support students at risk of dyslexia in preschool through first grade.
  • PARTNERS Grant to provide direct support for the implementation of the components in the dyslexia laws.
  • Ohio Statewide Mathematics and Literacy Tutoring Grant which partners colleges and universities with school districts to provide tutoring to k-12 students in 1-to-1 settings.
  • High-Quality Tutoring Programs that local districts can leverage to provide additional supports and services to their students.
  • Ohio’s Annual Literacy Academy provides professional learning for educators serving children birth through grade 12 to implement practices aligned to the Science of Reading.