Reed introduces Right to Read Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLNE) —  In an effort to increase literacy and expand opportunity, Sen. Jack Reed and Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva introduced the bicameral Right to Read Act.

The legislation aims to help address disparities in access to school library resources and surge federal investment in support of increasing student literacy across the country, Reed said.

The U.S. Department of Education reports that 2.5 million students are enrolled in districts where there are no school libraries.

Reed said the Right to Read Act aims to address this issue, ensuring students have evidence-based reading instruction, well stocked and staffed school libraries, family literacy programs, and a wide range of reading materials.

“Under the House Republican majority, GOP politicians have sought to politicize our children’s schools and enable the voices of an extreme few dictate what children can or cannot read,” Grijalva said.

“The Right to Read Act is a direct response to those efforts and reaffirms that first amendment rights apply to school libraries, given the alarming trend of book banning, and protects school librarians and other educators in carrying out their duty to protect students’ right to read.” Grijalva concluded.

The legislation would also reauthorize the Comprehensive Literacy State Development grant program at $500 million and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program at $100 million, both legislators said.

“Literacy is the foundation of learning,” Reed said. “By improving and expanding school libraries and recruiting and retaining professional school librarians, we can make big literacy gains nationwide and help more kids develop the skills needed to become proficient, enthusiastic readers.”

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