Keys to Literacy Newsletter
Message from 
Joan Sedita

I decided to focus this newsletter on the LEARN part of the new ESSA legislation because I am so encouraged to see that our nation's legislators from both sides of the aisle were able to finally pass the long overdue replacement to No Child Left Behind. And I am thrilled that they included the provisions of the LEARN act. I am fortunate to know of the individuals that represented the Advocates for Literacy Coalition that has lobbied for several years now to get a LEARN Act passed, and I know that without their support it would not have made it into the ESSA law. The quote I included in this newsletter from the letter that ILA sent to legislator reminding them that literacy is indispensable for academic success in all areas of schooling is also a Keys to Literacy message. Reading and writing skills form the foundation of all learning - if students struggle with these skills, they will never be able to access information that is essential for college and career, nor will they be able to fill their lives with everything rich literature has to offer.
I truly hope that the inclusion of LEARN in ESSA will result in teachers receiving the kind of support they need in order to embed literacy instruction in everything they do. 


Joan Sedita
Founding Partner & Program Author
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Volume 15
Fall/Winter 2015
In this issue, the focus is on 
literacy legislation in the new 
ESSA federal education law.

Our newsletter provides guidance and resources about literacy instruction in grades K-12. We hope you find the tips helpful.... and feel free to forward this to your friends and colleagues!
New Federal Law Legislation
On Dec 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law the "Every Student Succeeds Act" (ESSA) which replaced the "No Child Left Behind Act" (NCLB) of 2002.
There are a number of key changes in the new law. Here at Keys to Literacy we are most interested in the LEARN part of the legislation: Literacy Education For All, Results for the Nation. The program addresses reading and writing instruction across ALL grades and ages - i.e., birth through grade 12. The program is designed to improve students' academic achievement in reading and writing by providing federal support to states to develop, revise, or update comprehensive literacy instruction plans.  This includes providing professional development opportunities for teachers, literacy specialists, English as second language specialists, and administrators. It also authorizes all local grants to provide time for teachers and other staff to meet and to plan comprehensive literacy instruction.
Under LEARN, states and districts must allocate no less than 15 percent of LEARN funds for students in ages 0 to 5, no less than 40 percent of funds for students in kindergarten through 5th grade, and no less than 40 percent for students in 6th through 12th grades. The emphasis on secondary literacy instruction is long overdue! The new bill gives states flexibility in how they use federal funds to improve literacy instruction.
The new bill also authorizes the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program which allows the education secretary to award grants and contracts on a competitive basis to promote literacy programs in low-income areas. This may include enhancing effective school library programs.
LEARN has been introduced as separate legislation in the past, most recently last February by Representatives Yarmuth from Kentucky and Polis from Colorado.  The Advocates for Literacy Coalition, a group of 64 organizations devoted to improving literacy education, has been lobbying for this legislation, and the International Literacy Association recently sent a letter to legislators considering the LEARN part of ESSA that "literacy is indispensable for academic success in all areas of schooling and at all ages."
To learn more about LEARN and ESSA:
Keys to Literacy News
NEW BOOKS: This past summer, we published new editions of our Key Comprehension Routine (Grades 4-12) and Keys to Content Writing training books. The new editions include updates related to research on instructional research, connections to state literacy standards, and additional instructional practices and classroom examples. Visit our store to order the new editions. 
UPDATED training for The ANSWER Routine for Extended Writing Tasks: We have spent the last 8 months updating and piloting the training content and materials for our one-day professional development program, The ANSWER Routine. The updated version of the program modifies the ANSWER steps to meet the rigorous types of "writing from sources" prompts found on newer state literacy assessments. Contact Sue to plan training. 
Follow our blog, Literacy Lines! Each week we post pieces that focus on best instructional practices for teaching reading and writing. Joan Sedita is our lead blogger - she is joined by other Keys to Literacy trainers. Some of the most popular posts during the past few months include these topics:
Follow us on Twitter! Similar to our blog and this newsletter, we pass along information, suggestions, and links to literacy related topics.