October 20, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins’ (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) to designate today, October 20, 2023, as National Early Childhood Literacy Awareness Day. The resolution, which highlights the importance of access to high-quality early childhood education programs, is also co-sponsored by Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
"Fostering literacy in early childhood is crucial for preparing students in Maine and across the country for a lifetime of reading and learning,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan resolution seeks to ensure that students from all social and economic backgrounds have access to programs that promote childhood literacy and language development.”
“Early Childhood Literacy programs are instrumental in helping young children cultivate their reading skills while opening their minds to new worlds and ideas,” said Senator King. “By investing in programs like Head Start, we are investing in the success and well-being of our children and families, and fostering a brighter future for the next generation of Mainers. I remain dedicated to supporting these programs that have already strengthened communities, in Aroostook County and across Maine, and I am proud to be a co-lead on this resolution to continue providing resources for all Maine children.”
“I am so grateful for the efforts of Senators Collins, King, Capito, and Manchin for their efforts to recognize October 20, 2023, as National Early Childhood Literacy Awareness Day. Highlighting the importance of literacy from the very start of a child's life has great benefit, in particular for our most vulnerable populations. Head Start has a long history of family partnership and community collaboration in efforts to build strong language and literacy foundations for our children. Supporting Families, Caregivers and Early Educators as they build literacy into their interactions with children has long lasting positive impacts. Thank you, Senators, for highlighting the precious gift we can give to all children - a lifelong love of reading and books,” said Chair of Maine Head Start Directors Association Cristina Salois, MS Ed.
“On behalf of all the members of The LITEArary Society, I would like to thank Senator Collins and Senator King, as well as Senator Manchin and Senator Capito, for introducing a resolution to designate October 20, 2023 as "National Early Childhood Literacy Awareness Day. This resolution will raise awareness about early childhood literacy issues at the national level and encourage greater support to help children achieve reading proficiency-one book at a time. I am incredibly grateful for the extraordinary support of the Senators to make this very special day, a reality,” said Rania Zuri, Founder and CEO of The LiTEArary Society, Inc., an entirely youth-led nonprofit organization with the mission of ending book deserts for disadvantaged preschool children globally.
“From birth to age 5, a child’s brain develops more than any other time in life. Early Head Start and Head Start know one of the best ways to support healthy brain development is to read, read, read,” said Executive Director of the National Head Start Association Yasmina Vinci. “We thank Senators Collins, King, Manchin, and Capito for calling attention to the importance of early childhood literacy and the simple truth that success in school and life depends on every child being ready to read. Likewise, we applaud 18-year-old Rania Zuri of Morgantown, West Virginia, CEO of The LiTEArary Society, for her work with communities to encourage the support needed to help every child achieve reading proficiency.”