SCR 5: Proclaiming March 2, 2018, as Alaska Reads Day.

00 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 5 01 Proclaiming March 2, 2018, as Alaska Reads Day. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS the ability of citizens to read is recognized as a basic requirement for the 04 viability of a democratic society; and 05 WHEREAS an educated public is essential to the development of the state's economy 06 because a skilled and diverse workforce spurs economic activity and attracts revenue to the 07 state; and 08 WHEREAS well-read citizens and successful students aid our country in successfully 09 conducting foreign affairs, maintaining military and diplomatic roles, and maintaining 10 national security; and 11 WHEREAS the state has chronically low proficiency rates for its students, and, 12 according to several national measures, the state's proficiency rate was stagnant at 27 percent 13 from 2005 to 2013, and only 30 percent of the state's fourth grade students were proficient 14 readers in 2016; and 15 WHEREAS the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that in 2015 Alaska 16 was second to last in fourth grade reading proficiency, which means that the state's fourth

01 graders, and our students in general, are at a greater academic disadvantage than students in 02 most other states; and 03 WHEREAS students who do not read proficiently by the third grade are likely to fall 04 behind in all other subjects, which makes the development of reading proficiency before the 05 third grade vital to academic success overall; and 06 WHEREAS students who are not proficient readers in the third grade are four times 07 more likely to drop out of school and to generate increased social services and incarceration 08 costs for the state; and 09 WHEREAS reading proficiency begins at birth, and greater exposure to words in the 10 home is directly related to better readers and better students; and 11 WHEREAS reading out loud to children increases their interest in mastering reading, 12 exposes children to proper vocabulary, grammar, and phrasing, and enhances the development 13 of their own reading skills; and 14 WHEREAS it is important that state policy leaders, business and community leaders, 15 educators, parents, and all citizens of the state increase the emphasis they place on education 16 and the fundamental skill of reading; and 17 WHEREAS private and public organizations and agencies, as well as private citizens 18 and public officials, can participate in showing the state's students that their academic success 19 and reading ability are important to the economy, stability, and prosperity of the state; and 20 WHEREAS participants from public and private sectors can participate in reading to 21 children in public schools, private schools, libraries, and other appropriate community 22 facilities; and 23 WHEREAS a campaign to make the public aware of the importance of mastering the 24 fundamental skill of reading can be implemented through private and public partnerships and 25 does not need public funding at this time; and 26 WHEREAS an Alaska Reads Day would foster a love of reading and encourage the 27 young people of the state and all citizens of the state to explore the world of books, and would 28 raise awareness of the importance of reading in our young children; and 29 WHEREAS Theodor Seuss Geisel, whose pen name was Dr. Seuss, inspired a love of 30 reading and phonics in countless young persons of this country; and 31 WHEREAS March 2, 2016, was proclaimed Read Across America Day to coincide

01 with Dr. Seuss's birthday; 02 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature proclaims March 2, 2018, as 03 Alaska Reads Day; and be it 04 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature requests that public and 05 private citizens and organizations of the state work together on March 2, 2018, to raise 06 awareness among the students and citizens of the state of the importance of reading to young 07 children and the importance of independent reading.