Literacy is ultimately about people . . . you and you and you and you and us.
We can make a difference when it comes to literacy in America, but not just any difference. We can create a SEISMIC SHIFT in the literacy outcomes of millions of children; but to do it, we need your help.
It's not enough to have a solution, collectively we need a pathway to distribution. The cause needs awareness; it needs branding; it needs collaboration; it needs cooperation; it needs commonality; it needs endorsement; it needs sponsorship; and it needs funding.
What can we agree on? Let's start there.
In order to begin a grass roots initiative that will lead to all of the above, we've started with a petition that codifies our commitment to evidence-based, as well as self evident truths about literacy, and that will demonstrate to anyone willing to listen that the community of literacy experts, as well as the concerned public, shares a unified voice and a unified will with respect to reversing the "Literacy Crisis" and the "Education Crisis" in America.
One truth we find to be self evident, is that ALL children are entitled to education and to literacy as a fundamental human right and absolute birthright of all American citizens. Another truth we believe to be self evident is that reading English begins with phonemic/ phonological awareness of the sounds of a the English language, that writing is the encoding of spoken English sounds into symbols and that learning to read English means learning to decode those symbols in order to form spoken sounds, words and meaningful sentences once again. In other words, learning to read English is accomplished by learning phonics.
In this petition that we've included below, we are asking for your imprimatur in support of these fundamental principles of literacy and education.
By digitally signing this petition and demonstrating our concurrence, we will send a powerful message to law makers, decision makers, educators, parents and caregivers that we are committed to immediate change and that together we can engender tangible, demonstrable, REAL improvements for our children over the next 10 years . . . radically, transformative, seismic and historical improvements that will change lives, improve quality of lives and even, in some cases, SAVE the lives of millions of young Americans representing the future generation of this great nation!
Thank you. Let's talk about literacy, but more importantly, let's DO SOMETHING TOGETHER ABOUT LITERACY, NOW!
We, the signatories of the following petition do hereby decree that:
1) Reading is the foundation of education in the modern world;
2) The education of children is not truly possible without literacy as a foundation;
3) Children who are deprived of basic literacy skills cannot achieve a 21st Century education;
4) All children have a fundamental right to an education;
5) Therefore ALL children have a fundamental right to literacy;
6) Therefore, literacy should be considered a fundamental human right;
7) Multiple decades of statistics gathered by the United States Government have proven that millions of American children are not learning how to read in America's public schools;
8) According to these statistics, approximately 22% of ALL 8th graders in America's public schools are reading below the basic level, which is consistent with COMPLETE illiteracy;
9) That according to these same statistics, approximately 64% of ALL 8th graders in America's public schools are reading below proficiency level, which is consistent with FUNCTIONAL illiteracy;
10) That approximately 1.2 million children drop out of high school each year representing approximately 22% of ALL children;
11) That approximately 22% of the ENTIRE Millennial generation cannot read and has dropped out of high school;
12) That education is the foundation of both individual achievement and the economic prosperity of our nation;
13) That with a 64% combined "functionally" and "completely" illiterate adult population, America cannot expect to have EITHER universally high individual achievement or evenly distributed economic prosperity;
14) That illiteracy and lack of education are, more likely than not, the root causes of most of the social and economic crises extant in our society today including poverty, hunger, crime (including unreported domestic violence), mass incarceration, drug abuse, substance abuse, long term health related issues related to drug abuse, substance abuse, poor diet and nutrition, homelessness, general income inequality and other woes and maladies that afflict those trapped and enslaved by economic hardship;
15) That literacy and education are the only proven means by which the economically impoverished can raise themselves and their children out of poverty to achieve a middle class lifestyle and to enjoy the basic freedoms of our modern day society including access to quality housing, quality food, quality healthcare and opportunities for the pursuit of general welfare and happiness.
Now, therefore, having attested to and confirmed my belief in the above tenets of truth related to education and to literacy, and to the fact that education and literacy continue to NOT be provided to millions of American children in this year, 2015 AD, I hereby recommend the following courses of action to resolve this crisis and re-establish balance and educational opportunity for ALL American children and ALL children attending our public schools as well as ALL American children attending private schools and home schools within the borders of our nation and throughout the world:
Parents, pre-schools and caregivers:
1) Create a universal foundation for literacy among ALL children by teaching them phonemic/phonological awareness, beginning no later than age 3;
2) Insure that ALL children learn the 44 sounds of the English language before they begin learning how to read words;
3) Insure that ALL children learn the 44 sounds of English simultaneously with learning the 26 letters of the Roman (English) Alphabet.
4) Insure that MY child's school teaches ALL 44 sounds of English to children before they complete the 1st grade;
5) If MY child's school is not teaching my child the 44 sounds of English, then I WILL take it upon MYSELF to teach my child the 44 sounds of the English language before they complete the 1st grade;
6) If I am a parent, I will act preemptively and teach my child the 44 sounds of English before they enter kindergarten;
7)Parents, pre-schools and caregivers should utilize tools such as the Phonibet to teach children ALL 44 sounds of the English language before they complete the 1st grade;
8) They should utilize tools such as the Phonibet Song to teach children ALL 44 sounds of English simultaneously with learning the Alphabet.
WE BELIEVE that by taking these simple actions, ALL children will enter kindergarten and 1st grade more fully prepared to:
1) Assimilate a phonics-based reading curriculum;
2) Learn how to read;
3) Approach reading with enthusiasm;
4) Understand the relationships between letters and sounds;
5) Become literate by 3rd grade;
6) Finish high school;
7) Become an educated adult;
8) Pursue continuing education as an adult;
9) Pass on the value of literacy and education to their own children;
10) Break the cycle of poverty and impoverishment caused by illiteracy.
Affirmed by my own hand:
Digital Signature City/Location Date