Office of Governor Gary Locke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 20, 2002
Contact: Kirsten Kendrick, Governor’s Communications Office, 360-902-4136
Alt Contact: Jocelyn McCabe, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 360-725-6014
Gov. Gary Locke, Superintendent of Public Instruction Launch Washington State Reading Initiative
Gov. Gary Locke and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson today launched the Washington State Reading Initiative, the latest effort in their shared goal of improving the reading skills of every child in Washington state.
“Reading is the key to all academic success,” Locke told a group of teachers and students during his weekly news conference at a West Seattle elementary school. “We’ve made great progress with successful programs like the Washington Reading Corps, Washington Reads and the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge, but we need to do more. With the new Washington State Reading Initiative, we will work to close the achievement gap that still exists for too many of our kids.”
The main goal of the Washington State Reading Initiative is to have all students in the state reading at grade level or higher by the end of third grade, and continue reading at grade level or higher throughout their schooling.
Locke and Bergeson have worked together before on projects like the Reading School of the Month, where a school that previously had been struggling with reading scores is honored for its improvements. The Washington State Reading Initiative marks an even closer collaboration to further improve the reading skills of Washington state children.
“Washington state’s teachers, paraeducators, parents and volunteers have been working diligently to improve the reading skills of our youngest students,” Bergeson said. “Our hope is to continue those efforts and build on our successes by bringing attention and focus to the reading skills for our middle and high school students. We know that while elementary students must learn to read, older students must read to learn. We must do more to address reading along the continuum of a student’s academic career. This initiative is a good first step toward that goal.”
Locke and Bergeson today also introduced Jan Hasbrouck as the new executive director of the Washington State Reading Initiative. Hasbrouck has an extensive background in reading, especially in assessments and interventions with struggling readers.
Hasbrouck has been a professor of educational psychology at Texas A&M University, and served as an adviser to the Texas Reading Initiative. Her research in reading fluency is used by school districts across the country to help establish performance standards for reading. She has hands-on experience with children, having been a reading specialist in Oregon for 15 years.
“There is now widespread agreement about what it takes to provide effective reading instruction,” Hasbrouck said. “The Washington State Reading Initiative will focus on sharing that knowledge, aligning systems across agencies and programs, working to ensure that teachers and administrators have the highest quality professional training and on-going support, and finding ways to increase the accountability of all participants."
Hasbrouck is currently assembling an advisory panel to help put the goals of the Washington State Reading Initiative into action. Members of the panel include teachers, parents, school administrators, legislators, business leaders and representatives from higher education, the Washington Education Association and educational service districts.
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