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A comprehensive plan to improve literacy for Hawaiʻi’s people, the Hawaiʻi State Literacy Plan (PDF), has been released. The theme of the plan, “Lifelong Literacy for All,” is based on the belief that being literate empowers individuals to achieve economic success, and to achieve their aspirations.

While Hawaiʻi has made some progress in increasing access to high-quality experiences supporting literacy, one in six adults in Hawaiʻi still struggles with reading and writing, and nearly half of Hawaiʻi’s public school third graders do not meet English Language Arts achievement standards on the annual statewide assessment. By raising literacy rates, the aspiration is to cultivate engaged and participating community members to improve literacy and create a stronger Hawaiʻi.

Developed in partnership by the Executive Office on Early Learning, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (DOE), the University of Hawaiʻi System, Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education, and numerous community organizations, the plan represents contributions from experts in 59 education organizations and institutions to provide guidance for developing literacy instruction and programs as part of a comprehensive literacy system in the state.

“Nothing matters more for students’ educational, career and community success than being literate,” said Stephen Schatz, executive director of Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education. “We must re-commit to the goal of ensuring all students are reading at grade level by third grade. This plan is an opportunity to leverage Hawaiʻi’s own expertise as well as established research about what works throughout the educational pipeline.”

“Literacy is the foundation of student growth, development and access. I am thrilled we have this collaboratively designed resource that aligns to our strategies for accelerating student achievement,” said Hawaiʻi State DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “The collective best practices and recommendations will support our educators as they expand their capacity to enhance literacy for all students.”

The literacy plan

The literacy plan aims to coordinate Hawaiʻi’s statewide efforts to build knowledge of best practices and expand learning opportunities for students of all ages and abilities, including English language learners, adult learners and those with learning differences. Through the mastery of skills, the goal is for all students to become motivated, effective readers, writers and communicators. The plan is also designed to support a common understanding across many organizations and increase partnerships to support literacy learners in all settings, from families to schools and community organizations.

“Within the Hawaiʻi State Literacy Plan exist the many possibilities through which we can solidify our efforts in order to build coherence around the diverse work we engage in throughout our communities,” said Lauren Moriguchi with the Executive Office on Early Learning. “As we, too, deepen our learning and build quality literacy-centered experiences for the youngsters and adults we work with, we can enhance the richness of the social-cultural elements that support literacy for us all.”

Key topics of the plan include:

  • Effective Literacy Practices and Literacy Development
  • Literacy Assessment
  • Instructional Leadership and Professional Learning
  • Effective Community Partnerships

The Hawaiʻi State Literacy Plan was made possible with support from the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Hawaiʻi Pizza Hut Literacy Funds, the Learning Coalition, Kamehameha Schools and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

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