The New York Campaign for Early Literacy statement on FY 2025 state budget literacy investments 

May 6, 2024 | Press Release

NEW YORK — The New York Campaign for Early Literacy commends the New York Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul for prioritizing early literacy and the science of reading in the Enacted Budget. The new early literacy provisions mark significant progress, aligning New York with the 45 other states that have already enacted legislation supporting evidence-based reading instruction.   

Key victories in the Enacted Budget include a $10 million investment in professional learning for current educators. This initiative will provide training and resources to up to 20,000 educators, enabling them to implement evidence-based and scientifically proven instructional practices for reading instruction. The Campaign eagerly anticipates further details on these professional learning opportunities and stands ready to support their implementation.   

Despite this positive step forward, more must be done to ensure all educators, including school librarians and administrators, receive training on instructional best practices aligned with the science of reading. While the $10 million investment is an important first step, we estimate that more than 40,000 educators will not benefit from this training program, and an additional investment of $20 million is needed to ensure all Pre-K to 5th-grade teachers receive professional learning on instruction aligned to the science of reading.   

Additionally, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) is mandated to provide districts with evidence- and scientifically based instructional best practices for teaching reading to prekindergarten through 3rd-grade students by January 2025. These practices must align with the department’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining framework, ensuring instructional materials used statewide are rooted in the science of reading. The Campaign looks forward to working with NYSED on the development of these best practices aligned to the science of reading. We also encourage NYSED to provide this guidance on best practices to educators in grades 4-5, to ensure all educators Prek-5th grade have guidance on best practices for teaching reading based on evidence and the science of reading.  

By September 2025, all districts must confirm to the commissioner that their reading curriculum and instructional practices for grades Pre-K-3 adhere to the provided instructional best practices and contribute to an aligned plan to enhance student outcomes. The Campaign is encouraged by this important step to ensure all districts are using materials aligned to the science of reading. We look forward to learning from NYSED what process they will use to have districts confirm that they are using curriculum and instructional practices aligned to the science of reading. We encourage NYSED to publicly report this data so that parents and communities are informed about the district’s curricular and instructional practices.  

A first-time investment of $500,000 in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library will help support the provision of high-quality, age-appropriate books monthly to children up to age five, at no cost to their families. Grants will be issued based on need and children served, with priority given to communities expanding existing libraries or establishing new libraries. The Campaign anticipates collaborating with the State to pave the way for statewide program expansion, which will require a more significant investment next year.   

While pleased with the State’s investments in early literacy, the Campaign recognizes the need for further efforts to improve student outcomes. New York students ranked 37th in fourth-grade reading on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and only 34% of 3rd graders from low-income backgrounds scored proficient on the 2022-23 New York State ELA assessment.    

In the coming months, Campaign partners will focus on key priorities to build upon new State policy, including:  

  • Passing The Right to Read Act (A2897/S5480) 
  • Increasing access to libraries, as well as to preliteracy and early literacy tools/books for children before they enter preschool (at home, in pediatric offices, and in home visiting and child care programs), as well as supports for caregivers on how to use those resources 
  • Ensuring curriculum adoption aligned to the science of reading in all districts 
  • Providing training to in-service and pre-service PreK-5 educators on instruction aligned to the science of reading 
  • Collecting and report out data on district-level adoption of curriculum, training, instruction and student outcomes to better monitor statewide progress 
  • Investing in high-impact tutoring and targeted support for older students not reading on grade level

Jeff Smink, deputy director of The Education Trust–New York, is available for further comment. Please contact Elizabeth Chmurak at [email protected] 


About The New York Campaign for Early Literacy: 

The New York  Campaign for Early Literacy, convened by The Education Trust–New York, is designed to harness the collective voice of New Yorkers committed to better reading outcomes by seeking policy change at the state and local levels through the adoption of evidence-based instruction and materials aligned with the science of reading from birth onward; subsequent professional learning for educators; and improved public transparency regarding literacy materials used in classrooms. A diverse group of individuals and civil rights, education, parent, nonprofit, and business organizations comprise the Campaign, which unites around the principle that reading is a civil and human right and all children can learn to read by the end of third grade with evidence-based instruction and holistic support inside and outside of school, beginning at birth.