Statement from Zach Eckert, ExcelinEd in Action Legislative Director for the Midwest, on the most significant investment in early literacy in Wisconsin in recent years.

“As Wisconsin families and students rebound from learning setbacks brought on by the pandemic, state lawmakers have laid critical groundwork for supporting young learners by prioritizing early literacy in the budget.

“This additional funding will give Wisconsin teachers the tools to successfully teach reading and provide individualized tutoring to ensure every child gains critical reading skills.

“Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt, Senator Kathleen Bernier and Senator Dale Kooyenga championed this effort, and with his signature, Governor Tony Evers made it a reality, ensuring all students have the skills they need to be successful in school and in life.”

The biennial budget signed by Governor Evers today includes more than $7 million to help more students read by the end of third grade:

  • $5 million in American Rescue Plan funds toward professional development for teachers and school administrators, evidenced-based literacy instruction and alignment of teacher preparation programs with the science of reading.
  • $1.6 million to provide one-on-one literacy tutoring to support struggling readers.
  • $500,000 grant to administer the “Reach Out and Read Wisconsin” program, which partners with pediatricians to provide parents the tools and resources needed to set a strong reading foundation from birth to age three.
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