Legislative Action Team Advisory

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sample letter to your Senator re Striving Readers (S.958)

IRA, along with the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Alliance for Excellent Education has worked for the past year to expand the Striving Readers program. This bill will authorize adolescent literacy grants to be awarded to states on a formula basis according to poverty levels and 8th grade NAEP reading scores. Local districts will be able to use these funds to develop schoolwide literacy plans and provide professional development in core academic subjects.

Striving Readers Act (S.958) was introduced March 22nd by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). IRA helped draft this legislation and IRA’s Legislative Action Team made Hill visits on February 16th seeking support for this bill. To follow-up the efforts of IRA’s LAT, we need you to send letters to your Senators asking them to sign on as co-sponsors to the Striving Readers Act today. Please see sample letter below.

Adapt this to make it your own.
Be sure to personalize the areas in bold.

The Honorable Senator ???

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator ?????:
On behalf of the (fill in number of IRA members in your state) members of the (your state’s name) Reading Association we ask you to sign on as a co-sponsor for the the Striving Readers Act of 2007 (S. 958). Senators Jeff Sessions and Patty Murray crafted a bill that will help improve student achievement in adolescent literacy for middle level and high school students by establishing adolescent literacy initiatives aimed at increasing high school graduation and college readiness. The legislation will expand and authorize the current Striving Readers Program. Senators Sessions and Murray have already sent you a "Dear Colleague" letter requesting your support. We urge you to sign on to the Striving Readers Act of 2007 (S. 958).

The (fill in your state’s name) Reading Association represents a community of 90,000 reading professionals that include reading specialists, university professors, literacy coaches, classroom teachers, reading researchers, and librarians. As educators we experience first hand the results of students with inadequate reading instruction at the secondary level.

(Fill in number or percentage) of 8th graders in our state read below basic standards according to state assessment tests. This means they can’t (Fill in a short example of insufficient skills).

(Then give a short example from your state or district re how funds could be used if you were awarded a grant. This should be very short. The entire letter should be one page.)

We know that given the right instruction and opportunity every child can learn to read and achieve at his or her highest level. We hope that you agree that this investment in the future of millions of young Americans is critical to the economic future of our country. Please support the Striving Readers Act of 2007 by signing on as a co-sponsor.

Your name
The (fill in your state’s name) Reading Association
Address and contact information


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