Senator Katie Muth Promotes Literacy with Decodable Books Initiative

Muth Library EventSubmitted Image

CHESTER SPRINGS, PAState Senator Katie Muth (D-Chester/Montgomery/Berks) and the Chester County Library System hosted a community event Thursday at the Henrietta Hankin Branch Library, attracting over 50 parents, educators, and librarians. The focus was on structured literacy initiatives and new materials coming to libraries across Senate District 44.

The workshop, “Books for all Readers: Decodable Books & Literacy Initiatives at the Library,” aimed to support skilled reading for children. It featured presentations from Teach My Kid to Read, a national organization that advocates for using decodable books. These books are designed for beginning readers and help them practice segmenting and blending sounds to recognize words quickly and effortlessly, leading to independent reading success.

“I have learned so much about the Science of Reading over the past 18 months,” said Senator Muth. She has been working closely with the Chester County Library System and local school districts on a $3 million grant to implement evidence-based reading programs. “The community workshop was such a great event and provided valuable information to parents and educators across our region who attended. I am excited for the new decodable textbooks to be on the shelves at all libraries across SD44 soon.”

Funding and Support

In November 2022, Senator Muth announced a $125,000 grant to establish a collection of decodable books in every public library within Senate District 44. This grant, funded through Pennsylvania’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds, also includes training and professional development for librarians and community members.

“Public libraries have always provided early literacy materials, and we are excited to offer decodable books as a new tool for helping readers,” said Jenna Persick, Director of the Chester County Library. “We are happy to partner with Senator Muth on this literacy initiative.”

Educational Presentations

The workshop included presentations by Marion Waldman and Beth Bevars of Teach My Kid to Read. In 2019, the organization began educating public librarians about the process of learning to read and the benefits of decodable books.

“The libraries in Senate District 44 are literacy leaders with the knowledge and resources to help all children become skilled readers using evidence-based resources aligned with the science of reading,” said Marion Waldman, Executive Director of Teach My Kid to Read.

The event also featured a presentation by Cigdem Knebel, owner of Simple Words Books.

Why This Matters

  1. Enhanced Literacy Skills: Decodable books are critical for developing fundamental reading skills. They help children practice phonics, which is essential for recognizing words quickly and accurately.
  2. Support for Educators and Parents: The initiative provides valuable resources and training for educators and parents, ensuring they can support children’s reading development effectively.
  3. Community Engagement: By involving community members in workshops and providing them with tools to aid literacy, the initiative fosters a collaborative approach to education.
  4. Long-term Benefits: Early reading skills are linked to academic success and lifelong learning. Ensuring children become skilled readers at an early age sets them up for future achievements.
Empowering Communities Through Literacy Initiatives

Senator Muth’s efforts reflect a broader commitment to education and community development. The introduction of decodable books aligns with national movements towards evidence-based reading instruction. These initiatives not only improve literacy rates but also contribute to overall educational equity.

The “Books for all Readers” workshop at the Henrietta Hankin Branch Library marks a significant step in promoting literacy across Senate District 44. With the introduction of decodable books and continued support for structured literacy initiatives, libraries in Chester, Montgomery, and Berks Counties are set to become vital resources in helping children develop essential reading skills. Through these efforts, the community can look forward to a future where all children have the opportunity to become proficient readers.

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