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September 3, 1996

On Tuesday, August 27, President Clinton announced a national, bipartisan effort to make sure that every child can read independently and well by the end of third grade. Families and communities are the foundation of this effort and the President is proposing to provide $2.75 billion to support them in meeting America's Reading Challenge.

Clinton states that 40 percent of all children are now reading below the basic level on national reading assessments, and believes children who cannot read early and read well are hampered at the very start of their education -- and for the rest of their lives. To participate in America's high-skill workplaces, to cruise, much less use the Internet, all children need to read better than ever before.

The strategy will focus on four mail components:

 Help for Parents to be their "Child's First Teacher" through Parents as First Teachers challenge grants for regional and national networks and for local effective, proven efforts for helping parents who want assistance to help their children become successful readers. ($300 million over 5 years)

 A Head Start for One Million 4 and 5 year olds. The President has already called for an expansion of Head Start to one million children by FY2002.

 America's Reading Corps: Individualized After-School and Summer Tutoring for More than 3 Million Children in Grades K-3 Who Want and Need It -- with the help provided by one million trained and supervised tutors. Federal support would be available for trained reading specialists and tutor coordinators -- including thousands of AmeriCorps participants and other National Service volunteers -- to provide instruction, organize school and community-based reading programs, and recruit and train volunteers. ($2.45 billion over 5 years)

 Accountability for results based on national and state progress in the reading performance of 4th graders on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). ($25 million over 5 years)

For more information on the President's proposal, visit the Department of Education's website.