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Literacy Campaign Encourages Reading Across the District

Monday, August 11, 2008
Residents encouraged to take part in "Day in the Life of Reading" photo essay

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) invites all District residents to participate in a new citywide literacy campaign to combat the growing problem of illiteracy and to encourage residents to engage in reading as a daily practice.

"We want to get District residents of all ages involved in the literacy campaign to demonstrate the importance of learning to read at an early age and continuing to read throughout adulthood," said Deborah A. Gist, State Superintendent of Education.

The OSSE is encouraging District residents to document a "Day in the Life of Reading" by photographing their families, friends and communities reading. These photographs—including parents reading to their children, children reading alone, literacy volunteers teaching people to read, senior citizens reading, bedtime reading and more—will be used in the literacy campaign as part of a photo essay to illustrate reading as a daily habit. Please email your digital photographs to [email protected], and visit osse.dc.gov for photo submission requirements. The pictures may also be considered for use as part of a slide show presentation at the campaign launch and inclusion in other campaign materials. 

Research shows that reading books is the best predictor of several measures of reading achievement for children. According to the recently released DC Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS) test scores, District students made significant improvement in reading at both the elementary and secondary levels for the 2007-2008 school year. In reading, the number of elementary students performing at the proficient level or higher went up 7.3 percent from last year, and secondary students reaching or exceeding proficiency also increased by 7.3 percent.

However, 36 percent (170,000) of District residents are considered functionally illiterate, compared to 21 percent nationally. People who are functionally illiterate have some ability to read and write but not enough to function fully in everyday life. Functionally illiterate individuals may have difficulty with crucial tasks such as filling out job applications, reading maps, understanding bus schedules, and reading newspaper articles.

The OSSE is hopeful that this new literacy campaign will work to increase literacy across the District. "By working together, we can bring awareness to the problem of illiteracy in the District of Columbia and promote the importance of not only learning to read, but reading every day," said State Superintendent Gist.

Photo Requirements:

  • Photos are limited to jpeg format, 72 dpi and maximum 500 pixels in width. 
  • Submission of photos provides the OSSE permission and discretion to use the photograph(s) as a part of the Literacy Campaign
  • All photos submitted will become the property of the OSSE. 
  • Submission of photos does not guarantee that it will be used for the Literacy Campaign. 

Campaña de alfabetización para promover la lectura en el Distrito de Columbia [PDF]