The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 10, 2001

President Bush - Putting Reading First
This Week's Presidential Action

- Today in Jacksonville, Florida, President Bush kicked off Putting Reading First -- a weeklong effort to promote the importance of reading as the cornerstone of an effective education for every child in America.

- President Bush also announced two new initiatives from the Department of Education to assist parents, teachers, and school administrators in improving the quality of reading instruction in America:

- Reading Leadership Academies: The Department of Education will sponsor Reading Leadership Academies in at least six regional locations across the country over the next year. The Reading Leadership Academies will be special conferences designed to equip state policymakers and key education leaders throughout the nation with the latest and best knowledge, based on high quality research findings, about effective teaching and learning in reading. The Academies will facilitate quicker and more effective implementation of the President's Reading First and Early Reading initiatives -- ensuring that needed reforms reach the classroom sooner.

- "Put Reading First" Brochure for Parents: The Partnership for Reading -- a partnership between the U.S. Department of Education, the National Institute for Literacy, and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development – has translated the findings of the National Reading Panel into an informative brochure to help parents better understand the process by which their children can learn to read. This publication will help parents to identify whether their child's reading program at school is based on solid reading principles -- and gives them solid steps they can take to improve their child's ability to read.

The Bush Administration -- Putting Reading First

- The President has two key reading initiatives to address the reading crisis in America:

- Reading First would provide $900 million next year as part of a five year $5 billion program to help states and local districts implement comprehensive reading instruction grounded in scientifically based reading research in kindergarten through third grade.

- Early Reading First would provide $75 million to enhance pre-reading skills for children in model Head Start and other preschool programs.

- Because reading is a critical skill, the President has also proposed that states administer reading assessments to all students in grades 3-8. The tests will enable parents and teachers to diagnose children that are at risk of falling behind in reading, and get them the help when it can be most helpful.

- The House and Senate have passed education reform legislation that contains these key elements of the President's reading initiative. But these reforms cannot be implemented -- and this needed help cannot reach the classroom -- until Congress acts to complete its work on the education bill. The President will continue to urge Congress to complete its work on the education reform bill so America's schoolchildren and teachers can have the tools they need to succeed.

For more information, contact the White House Press Office at 202-456-2673

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