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30th Legislature(2017-2018)

Bill Text 30th Legislature

00 Enrolled SCR 5                                                                                                          
01 Proclaiming March 2, 2019, as Alaska Reads Day.                                                                         
02                                          _______________                                                                
03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                             
04      WHEREAS the ability of citizens to read is recognized as a basic requirement for the                               
05 viability of a democratic society; and                                                                                  
06      WHEREAS an educated public is essential to the development of the state's economy                                  
07 because a skilled and diverse workforce spurs economic activity and attracts revenue to the                             
08 state; and                                                                                                              
09      WHEREAS well-read citizens and successful students aid our country in successfully                                 
10 conducting foreign affairs, maintaining military and diplomatic roles, and maintaining                                  
11 national security; and                                                                                                  
12      WHEREAS the state has chronically low proficiency rates for its students, and,                                     
13 according to several national measures, the state's proficiency rate was stagnant at 27 percent                         
14 from 2005 to 2013, and only 30 percent of the state's fourth grade students were proficient                             
15 readers in 2016; and                                                                                                    
16      WHEREAS the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that, in 2015,                                       
17 Alaska was second to last in fourth grade reading proficiency, which means that the state's                             
01 fourth graders, and our students in general, are at a greater academic disadvantage than                                
02 students in most other states; and                                                                                      
03      WHEREAS students who do not read proficiently by the third grade are likely to fall                                
04 behind in all other subjects, which makes the development of reading proficiency before the                             
05 third grade vital to academic success overall; and                                                                      
06      WHEREAS students who are not proficient readers in the third grade are four times                                  
07 more likely to drop out of school and to generate increased social services and incarceration                           
08 costs for the state; and                                                                                                
09      WHEREAS reading proficiency begins at birth, and greater exposure to words in the                                  
10 home is directly related to better readers and better students; and                                                     
11      WHEREAS reading out loud to children increases their interest in mastering reading,                                
12 exposes children to proper vocabulary, grammar, and phrasing, and enhances the development                              
13 of their own reading skills; and                                                                                        
14      WHEREAS it is important that state policy leaders, business and community leaders,                                 
15 educators, parents, and all citizens of the state increase the emphasis they place on education                         
16 and the fundamental skill of reading; and                                                                               
17      WHEREAS private and public organizations and agencies, as well as private citizens                                 
18 and public officials, can participate in showing the state's students that their academic success                       
19 and reading ability are important to the economy, stability, and prosperity of the state; and                           
20      WHEREAS participants from public and private sectors can participate in reading to                                 
21 children in public schools, private schools, libraries, and other appropriate community                                 
22 facilities; and                                                                                                         
23      WHEREAS a campaign to make the public aware of the importance of mastering the                                     
24 fundamental skill of reading can be implemented through private and public partnerships and                             
25 does not need public funding at this time; and                                                                          
26      WHEREAS an Alaska Reads Day would foster a love of reading and encourage the                                       
27 young people of the state and all citizens of the state to explore the world of books, and would                        
28 raise awareness of the importance of reading in our young children; and                                                 
29      WHEREAS Theodor Seuss Geisel, whose pen name was Dr. Seuss, inspired a love of                                     
30 reading and phonics in countless young persons of this country; and                                                     
31      WHEREAS March 2, 2016, was proclaimed Read Across America Day to coincide                                          
01 with Dr. Seuss's birthday;                                                                                              
02      BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature proclaims March 2, 2019, as                                       
03 Alaska Reads Day; and be it                                                                                             
04      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature requests that public and                                        
05 private citizens and organizations of the state work together on March 2, 2019, to raise                                
06 awareness among the students and citizens of the state of the importance of reading to young                            
07 children and the importance of independent reading.                                                                     
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