Virginia Literacy Act
During the 2022 session of the Virginia General Assembly, lawmakers passed the Virginia Literacy Act with the aim of improving early literacy outcomes for Virginia's young learners. Through this act, the Virginia Department of Education has developed tools, resources, technical assistance and funding to support school divisions across the commonwealth review and implement curriculum approved through the VLA.
The main goals of the VLA are:
- Every student in kindergarten to grade eight will receive core literacy instruction based in scientifically based reading research and evidence based literacy instruction, as defined in the VLA. Students will also receive evidence-based instruction and intervention, as outlined in an individualized student reading plan, if they do not meet literacy benchmarks.
- Every family will have access to online resources to support literacy development at home, and will be able to participate in the development of their child’s student reading plan, if their child does not meet literacy benchmarks.
- Every teacher will use evidence-based literacy curriculum, assess student learning using approved literacy screeners, use student-level data to inform instruction and intervention, and participate in pre-service preparation or training on evidence-based literacy instruction.
- Every reading specialist, in consultation with classroom teachers, will coordinate and oversee intervention for students not meeting literacy benchmarks, and will develop and monitor student progress on student reading plans, working closely with families and teachers.
- Every division will develop a literacy plan, ensure the use of evidence-based literacy curriculum, staff enough reading specialists to support intervention needs, and provide professional development to support teachers, reading specialists, and principals.
Approved Core Instructional Programs
With the expansion of the VLA in 2023, school divisions in Virginia are now required to "provide a program of literacy instruction that is aligned with science-based reading research and provides evidenced-based literacy instruction to students in kindergarten through grade eight."
In late September, the VDOE released an update on the curriculum review process for the VLA, which included approval for six programs that ACPS reviewed for implementation in our schools to comply with VLA requirements for kindergarten through 3rd grade. After reviewing the initial six programs, ACPS narrowed the options to two programs in November of 2023. (» News Release: English Language Arts Adoption Committee Narrows New Reading Program Options to Two)
Programs were judged on how effectively they could be utilized by teachers to develop language comprehension, including vocabulary, language structure and verbal reasoning, word recognition involving phonological awareness, decoding (spelling-sound connections), and sight recognition of familiar words.
All parents, teachers, and community partners are encouraged to examine the two programs at their local elementary school and to provide their comments in a feedback survey at the school. Visitors should notify the school ahead of time of their plans to review the programs. Community members are welcome to review the materials at Center I, located at 1180 Seminole Trail in Charlottesville.
Comments also can be submitted through the online ELA Adoption Caregiver/Community Survey. The survey is available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Pashto and Dari. The survey deadline is Friday, December 8.