Press Release

Press Release  Healey Driscoll Administration Celebrates Literacy Launch Initiative

Literacy Launch Will Expand Access to Evidence-Based Literacy Learning Through Professional Development and High-Quality Materials
For immediate release:
  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
  • Executive Office of Education
  • Department of Early Education and Care

Media Contact   for Healey Driscoll Administration Celebrates Literacy Launch Initiative

Karissa Hand, Press Secretary

Randolph — Today the Healey-Driscoll administration celebrated their new initiative, Literacy Launch: Reading Success from Age 3 through Grade 3 with students, educators, and early-literacy advocates at the Martin Young Elementary School in Randolph. This new multi-year strategy aims to improve early literacy education by expanding access to high-quality, evidence-based reading instruction for students across Massachusetts. Governor Healey has recommended $30 million in her fiscal year 2025 (FY25) budget for the first year of Literacy Launch, on top of $5 million in continuing early literacy programming from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). 

“Every student in Massachusetts needs to be able to read and read well – and we’re going to give them the tools to do just that with Literacy Launch,” said Governor Maura Healey. “The districts that have the right materials and methods – including districts like Randolph that partner with DESE – are getting results. We want to bring the effective strategies we saw here today at the Young School to students, classrooms, and schools across the state.” 

“In our first budget, we made historic investments across all levels of education. We’re building on that in year two with an urgent approach to improving early literacy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Learning to read, and read well, can set our students up for a lifetime of success – from school to career and beyond. This is a downpayment on a generational change to expand access to high quality early literacy learning for all Massachusetts residents.”  

Literacy Launch will make high quality early literacy professional development available for K-3 educators in all districts and provide broad scale support for early educators who support literacy in preschool. The program will be implemented by the Executive Office of Education, in coordination with DESE and the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). The proposed $30 million FY25 investment will also help up to 45 school districts transition to a strong, evidence-based literacy program through a competitive grant program, including acquisition of high-quality materials and long-term technical support from DESE. Further, Literacy Launch will update approval criteria and accelerate review timelines for teacher education programs to require evidence-based early literacy training for future educators.  

“We are prioritizing early literacy because of the simple, yet profound reality that establishing literacy skills early is not only foundational to the remainder of a students’ education, it becomes a foundational marker for the remainder of his or her life. We owe it our students to get this right,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick Tutwiler

A statewide transition to evidence-based literacy learning is part of the Healey-Driscoll administration’s plan to make Massachusetts more equitable, affordable, and competitive. Literacy Launch will support access to culturally responsive, evidence-based literacy practices that affirm all of our students and value the assets they bring to their classroom and school, which is particularly important to improving literacy among students learning English. English learners represent more than 10 percent of the student body and are among the fastest growing student populations in Massachusetts. Just like their English-speaking peers, English learners' literacy skills have been shown to improve when they have access to evidence-based, culturally sustaining literacy instruction. Literacy Launch will expand this support and access to evidence-based curriculum for more of our readers across Massachusetts. 

“Getting literacy instruction right in a child’s early years helps give students a foundation of confidence and success,” said DESE Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “Districts and educators have taken advantage of all the literacy support we’ve offered them, and I’m proud to see this administration expand that work.” 

“Early education is the start of the educational journey for our youngest learners. I am proud that the Healey-Driscoll administration recently invested $850,000 to increase access to evidence-based and culturally responsive literacy supports for preschoolers. Literacy Launch will allow us to go significantly further, helping children to develop the language and literacy skills they need, closing the learning gap before they enter kindergarten. This initial $30 million comprehensive, cross-secretariat initiative will set our children up for educational success and a love of reading,” said Early Education and Care Commissioner Amy Kershaw

Randolph Public Schools is a strong example of a district partnering with the state to improve literacy instruction. The district used a $200,000 Accelerating Literacy with High Quality Instructional Materials grant from DESE in order to purchase the highly rated EL Education curriculum, which they now use. They also partner with DESE to provide intensive literacy tutoring to students, and participate in DESE’s Dyslexia Institute, which provides Massachusetts educators with best practices on early literacy screening, identification, and specialized interventions for students with dyslexia. Randolph Public Schools also participates in DESE’s GLEAM (Growing Literacy Equity Across Massachusetts) grant for pre-k and has been awarded $228,500 since 2020 to improve literacy curriculum.learning in preschool classrooms.  

“It is so important that every student in every community has access to high-quality, evidence-based reading material,” said Randolph Town Manager Brian Howard. “With the support of DESE, Randolph has been able to improve our curriculum and provide literacy tutoring. We’re excited to see the administration expanding this critical support to districts across the state.” 

“We are thrilled that Governor Healey and Secretary Tutwiler could visit Randolph Public Schools and see our incredible literacy work in action. We’ve been proud to partner with DESE on improved evidence-based literacy supports, and we’re excited to see the Healey-Driscoll administration propose increasing access to those effective programs to many other districts,” said Superintendent of Randolph Public Schools Thea R. Stovell

Literacy Launch is a new multi-year initiative that builds on the existing literacy programming at DESE that has been in high demand. In 2020, DESE released Mass Literacy, a guide with tools and supports for evidence-based early literacy instruction for all of our students. Additionally, under several programs including Growing Literacy Equity Across Massachusetts (GLEAM) and Accelerating Literacy grants, DESE has been offering opportunities for districts to receive multi-year technical support and funding for improvements in literacy teaching and materials. Across GLEAM elementary schools, there was a 22 percent decrease in students at risk of reading difficulty in grades K-5 in the first 18 months of the program.  

In recognition of the critical role that early educators and preschool providers play in children’s literacy learning, students as young as 3 are an important focus of Literacy Launch and the state’s existing approach to improving early literacy. In the 2022-2023 school year, DESE released the Commonwealth’s own early literacy foundational skills curriculum as an option for educators. Called Appleseeds, it is a completely free, evidence-based reading foundational skills curriculum for students in grades K-2. In one Appleseeds district, the percent of kindergarten students reaching or exceeding reading benchmarks went from 28% to 85% in just one year. EEC has expanded on this and is currently working with partners to conduct a statewide assessment of preschool literacy needs and create a Massachusetts Preschool Kindergarten Transition Toolkit for the early education mixed-delivery system.  


Media Contact   for Healey Driscoll Administration Celebrates Literacy Launch Initiative

  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll 

    Since taking office, Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll’s top priority has been building a Massachusetts that’s competitive, equitable, and affordable for every family, worker, and business.
  • Executive Office of Education 

    From pre-school to post-secondary education, the Executive Office of Education works to connect all Massachusetts residents with an education that creates opportunities.

    While Massachusetts' students rank first in the nation on many educational measures, the Executive Office of Education strives to strengthen the foundations of education reform, empower schools and educators, and develop pathways to college and careers so all students in the Commonwealth can succeed, regardless of their zip code.
  • Department of Early Education and Care 

    The Department of Early Education and Care's mission is to support the healthy growth and development of all children by providing high quality programs and resources for families and communities.
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