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June 8, 2020

Ask the DC Council to protect funding for early literacy

Mayor Bowser’s proposed FY21 budget included some much-needed investments in public education. Unfortunately, the proposal eliminates $500,000 of funding for the Early Literacy Intervention Initiative. In FY20, Reading Partners received $755,000 from OSSE, nearly doubling our previous FY19 funding, which allowed us to continue serving nearly 1,000 students across 19 schools this year. As we prepare for the 2020-21 school year, we know the demand for our program will increase and local investments are even more crucial as we pivot to partner with our schools to serve students. 

Watch our executive director Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan’s testimony before the DC Council’s Education Committee on June 4.

The Reading Partners program makes a meaningful, measurable difference for the students we serve. In partnership with schools and communities, you, our volunteers, provide invaluable literacy support to students who are working toward becoming stronger readers. As a result, students make incredible gains:

  • 88 percent of all Reading Partners students met or exceeded their primary end-of-year literacy growth goal (2018-19 data).
  • 92 percent of Reading Partners’ K-2 students mastered the foundational reading skills needed to read at grade level (2018-19 data).

If you are a DC resident, please let the DC Council’s Education Committee know the importance of maintaining local funding for early literacy intervention to ensure that hundreds of elementary school students across our city can continue to receive our high-quality literacy support. 

Here’s how you can help

Call the members of the education committee to voice your support for the Early Literacy Intervention Initiative. We have provided their numbers and a script below.

Education committee members

(Note: Please prioritize Councilmembers Bonds, White, Jr., Allen, and White, Sr., as Councilmember Grosso is supportive of maintaining funding for the ELII. If you have extra time, please call his office to thank him for his support.)

You can look up your Ward here:


Hello. My name is _______ . I live in Ward ___ and I am calling to ask Councilmember _______ and the Education Committee to keep funding stable for the Early Literacy Intervention Initiative in the FY21 budget. [IF APPLICABLE: I volunteer as a reading partner at [your school] where I tutored a student once a week.]

This past school year, Reading Partners served nearly 1,000 students at 19 DCPS and charter schools and received a large portion of its funding from the Early Literacy Intervention Initiative. The Mayor’s budget proposal eliminates $500,000 from the Early Literacy Intervention Initiative Grant administered by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education that was appropriated in FY20 to support reading success in the early elementary grades. 

Protecting this funding would help ensure that hundreds of elementary school students in DC can continue to receive the evidence-based literacy interventions they need to succeed in school and in life. Thank you for your time.

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