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May 9, 2019

Ask the DC Council to increase funding for early literacy

Reading Partners needs your voice to help us secure additional funding for our students before May 13. Please see below for how you can support.

Mayor Bowser’s FY20 budget proposal includes $1.6 million in funding for the Early Literacy Intervention Initiative. Reading Partners is one of two nonprofit organizations in DC that receive funding through this initiative. For the past four years, this funding has allowed our two organizations to serve over 3,800 students at 28 schools across the four school years.

Reading Partners runs a proven, evidence-based literacy tutoring program for K-4 students struggling with reading. In partnership with schools and larger communities, Reading Partners volunteers provide students with individualized reading support they need to read at grade level by fourth grade. 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 in 2017-18
  • 95 percent of Reading Partners’ K-2 students mastered the foundational reading skills needed to read at grade level in 2017-18

That being said, we recognize that the lack of high-quality literacy intervention disproportionately affects students residing in Wards 7 and 8, and that it’s predominantly these students’ futures that are at stake. We see that the need to invest in educational equity in our city is urgent, and that the time to act is now. That’s why this year, we are advocating for an increase in funding from $1.6 million to $3 million.

If you are a DC resident, please let the DC Council know the importance of investing in early literacy and how deeply it affects our community’s social and economic well-being.

Here’s how…

Call the members of the DC Council to voice your support for increased funding for the Early Literacy Intervention Initiative. It only takes a moment and your call can truly make a difference. If you only have a couple of minutes, please prioritize calling Chairman Phil Mendelson and your Ward’s representative. If you have a bit more time, please call the At-Large Members as well. The DC Council votes on the FY20 budget on Tuesday, May 14.

DC Council Members:

  • Phil Mendelson, Chairman (At-Large): (202) 724-8032
  • Anita Bonds (At-Large): (202) 724-8064
  • David Grosso (At-Large): (202) 724-8105
  • Elissa Silverman (At-Large): (202) 724-7772
  • Robert White, Jr. (At-Large): (202) 724-8174
  • Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1): (202) 724-8181
  • Jack Evans (Ward 2): (202) 724-8058
  • Mary Cheh (Ward 3): (202) 724-8062
  • Brandon Todd (Ward 4): (202) 724-8052
  • Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5): (202) 724-8028
  • Charles Allen (Ward 6): (202) 724-8072
  • Vincent Gray (Ward 7): (202) 724-8068
  • Trayon White, Sr. (Ward 8): (202) 724-8045

You can look up your Ward here.


Hello. My name is _______ . I live in Ward ___ and I am calling to ask Councilmember _______ to increase funding for the Early Literacy Intervention Initiative to $3 million in the FY20 budget. [IF APPLICABLE: I volunteer as a reading partner at [your school] and I tutor a student once a week.] 

Reading Partners is serving over 925 students at 19 DCPS and charter schools this school year and has served hundreds of students over the past several years thanks to their support. Increasing this funding will allow them to better serve school partners, especially those in Wards 7 and 8 and implement their new strategic plan, which focuses on educational equity.  Increasing this funding would help elementary school students in DC receive the evidence-based literacy interventions they need to succeed in school and in life. Thank you for your time.

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