October 20, 2023

Manchin, Capito, King, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Dedicating Today As National Early Childhood Literacy Awareness Day

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus King (I-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a bipartisan resolution to designate today, October 20, 2023, as National Early Childhood Literacy Awareness Day. The resolution highlights the importance of access to high-quality early childhood education programs and was conceived by West Virginia resident Rania Zuri who is the founder and CEO of The LiTEArary Society, Inc., an organization focused on ending book deserts for disadvantaged preschool children globally.

“Learning to read at an early age is critical for greater success in the classroom as well as for opportunities in adulthood,” said Senator Manchin. “I am proud to lead this bipartisan resolution to demonstrate to families the importance of reading from a young age and support the development of early literacy skills in preschool-aged children in West Virginia and across the nation. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join this resolution to promote educational opportunities for our children.”

“Throughout my time in public service, I’ve worked hard to secure resources that support early childhood education programs, including Head Start. As the top Republican on the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, this is also a priority of mine. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues to introduce this resolution that highlights the need to bolster child literacy so together we can help ensure more children are learning to read and write so they can reach their full potential as they grow,” Ranking Member Capito said.

“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.”

"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.”

“On behalf of all the members of The LITEArary Society, I would like to thank Senator Manchin, as well as Senator Capito, Senator Collins and Senator King 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 501 (c)(3 ) 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 Manchin, Collins, Capito, and King 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.”

“The West Virginia Head Start Association, Inc. would like to thank Senators Manchin, Capito, Collins, and King for their continued support in recognizing the importance of Early Childhood Literacy and the benefits to children and families in West Virginia.  Without their support Head Start programs would be unable to provide literacy programs and have access to reading libraries in all the Head Start classrooms.  Head Start serves over 7,000 children in West Virginia.  Head Start provides literacy opportunities to Head Start parents to make reading fun and an everyday activity for their children while developing a love of books.   Literacy and Language are a very important part of the Head Start curriculum in West Virginia we want to be able to increase children and family’s access and interest of books. Head Start encourages volunteers to read in the classrooms as well while also promoting the love of reading by supporting parents in getting access to public libraries to receive their library card to be able to check out books and read to their children,” the West Virginia Head Start Association stated.

“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,” stated Chair of Maine Head Start Directors Association Cristina Salois, MS Ed.

To view the resolution, click here

To view a video of Senator Manchin’s announcement, click here.