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Ohio Promises to Promote the ABC’s of Early Literacy

June 21, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - State leaders are making moves to ensure that children in Ohio can learn their ABC's as early as ages 1, 2 and 3. The Third-Grade Reading Guarantee in Senate Bill 316, includes a provision that seeks to give children a good start on literacy skills, even before kindergarten.

The Ohio Children's Caucus worked on the measure. Co-chair State Sen. Peggy Lehner says a lot of children show up at their first day of school already two years behind their peers.

"It's virtually impossible to catch them up. We can do it, but it takes a whole lot of work, a lot of money, a lot of effort. If we don't let them fall behind in the first place - if we teach them those skills when they are 2, 3, 4 years of age - then we don't have a catch-up game to play."

The recommendations in the measure will identify early-learning strategies that support successful reading achievement for all of Ohio's children by the third grade, with the ultimate goal of preparing children for success throughout their school years and increasing college and career readiness.

The Third Grade Reading Guarantee promises to teach Ohio's children to read before they can move on to the fourth grade.

State Rep. Ted Celeste, who also co-chairs the Children's Caucus, says adding the provision to focus on early literacy as a part of that goal is important. He says he has seen the benefit in the work he has done with children who have dyslexia.

"Early screening, identification and then a plan - a full program of reading assistance that acknowledges that issue - can make a huge difference."

The timing of the legislation is geared toward aligning literacy resources and efforts while Ohio implements its $70 million Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, awarded last December.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH