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On “National Read Across America Day”, Assemblymember Bonta and Superintendent Thurmond Highlight the Importance of Childhood Literacy

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) March 2 is “National Read Across America Day.” Established in 1998 by the National Education Association, students, teachers, parents, and community members come together on “National Read Across America Day” to read books and celebrate the joy of reading.


“I have a few favorite books that I would read to my kids every night. It was uninterrupted time we spent together. It was also a way for them explore the world through books,” stated Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland).


This year, Assemblymember Bonta and Superintendent Tony Thurmond partnered to introduce a bill that will focus on improving literacy and biliteracy by third grade, Assembly Bill (AB) 2465.


“As the foundation for future educational success, literacy is the key to equity,” said Assemblymember Bonta. “This legislation will mitigate barriers to book access, support teacher recruitment and retention, and engage families and communities in improving literacy and biliteracy outcomes. The intention is to advance literacy for all of California’s children.”


“Reaching literacy by third grade has long been a goal of California schools and a key benchmark in measuring and predicting student success. I have set a goal to ensure students in California can read by third grade by 2026,” said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond.  “I strongly believe that once a student learns to read, a student can read to learn anything. I am proud to sponsor AB 2465, which will establish a new grant program to support partnerships between schools and community based organizations that will engage families and improve literacy and biliteracy outcomes.”


According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 32% of California’s fourth graders are reading proficiently. These results put California below the national average and behind 25 other states. Research by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that pupils who were not proficient in reading by the end of third grade were four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers.


AB 2465 lays out a multifaceted strategy to improve literacy and biliteracy rates in California, and mitigate racial and economic disparities in reading outcomes.


Low-income children often have limited access to books. AB 2465 will mitigate this barrier to literacy by creating a grant program which school districts, and public libraries to increase access to reading resources in their communities. Monies from the bill would bolster school site libraries by adding resources to help improve literacy outcomes for California students.


“Nearly 60% of California’s children speak a language other than English at home. At home, I read books in Spanish and English like La Nena Llorona and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. We need to make books accessible to all children to expand their ability to succeed, my bill supports that,” explained Assemblymember Bonta.


AB 2465 is sponsored by the Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and informed by recommendations from California Department of Education Taskforce to Improve Reading by Third Grade.


AB 2465 will be heard in the Assembly later this month.