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CA DOE Provides Free Access to Literacy, Biliteracy Tools

The California Department of Education announced a partnership with early literacy and biliteracy company Footsteps2Brilliance to help further its goal of achieving literacy for all California students by third grade.

A kid reading a book sitting next to an adult.
woodleywonderworks/Flickr CC
The California Department of Education has partnered with a Washington, D.C., company in a bid to boost early literacy and biliteracy.

The DOE and Footsteps2Brilliance have entered into a $27 million digital literacy partnership which will provide families and caregivers of young students up to third grade throughout the state access to the company’s digital bilingual educational resources, the department said in a news release last month. Among the tools offered as part of Footsteps2Brilliance’s California Bilingual Early Literacy Initiative are interactive digital e-books, songs and games in English and Spanish.

“Our goal is to make literacy and biliteracy tools easy to access, easy to use, and most importantly, available for free, because we know that once a student learns to read, a student can read to learn anything,” said California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in a public statement. “And when students don’t learn to read by third grade, sadly, we know that the risk is greater that they might drop out of school, and they could end up in the criminal justice system.”

The bilingual early literacy program can be accessed around the clock with any mobile device or computer, providing what the department says is a “much-needed bridge between school and home.”

Footsteps2Brilliance Chief Executive Officer Ilene Rosenthal said the initiative will serve as a blueprint for other states as they witness the impact of childhood literacy. Thurmond added that the department is doing whatever it takes to improve literacy, citing this partnership as well as $250 million going towards hiring literacy coaches and specialists to support students and educators.

“We are determined to move the needle in the right direction for California to ensure that our students get access to the best resources to support literacy and biliteracy,” he said.

Literacy is among the top priorities, if not the top priority, for the state DOE, with Thurmond pushing to reach a goal of achieving literacy by third grade for all California students by the year 2026. This new partnership comes after the state extended its pact with a Wisconsin company earlier this year, thanks to impressive results in its own literacy initiative.