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From IRRC Director Dr. Deborah K. Reed
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Iowa Reading Research Center
Monthly Email Update
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Greetings,

The 2022 Iowa Legislative Session commenced on January 10 and is scheduled to last at least into April. During this time, state senators and representatives convene daily at the Capitol in Des Moines. They hold hearings and meetings in committees (such as senate and house education and education appropriations) to discuss proposed legislation and policy changes. They pass laws and pass a budget for all of state government for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1. You can get involved and make an impact during the session by sharing your thoughts with your local legislators about the importance of literacy education.
 
Communicating your support for entities like the Iowa Reading Research Center that are funded by the legislature lets your state senators and representatives know that their constituents value the work done by those entities. That is something they consider when voting on what bills to move forward or how much funding to provide. Such advocacy efforts can really make a tangible difference. For example, in 2020, the Iowa Legislature passed legislation which, among other things, created the IRRC-coordinated Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement program. Despite a legislative session when the COVID-19 pandemic dwarfed other priorities, the dyslexia legislation was still passed thanks to the tireless efforts led by Decoding Dyslexia Iowa of families contacting legislators. It would not have happened without the advocacy of constituents who cared about meeting the literacy educational needs of all students, including those with dyslexia.
 

Contacting Your Legislator

Sending an email or letter to your legislators on behalf of the IRRC or any other literacy entity of your choice can be easy to do by writing a short message focusing on your personal connections. First, you can click here to find your state senator and representative using this tool from the Iowa Legislature.
 
There are some tips and things to consider as you write your email or letter:
  • If writing an email, use a short and catchy subject line, mentioning the IRRC or another educational topic.
  • Address your legislator by title (Senator or Representative) and name.
  • Introduce yourself and your credentials (teacher, administrator, parent) as they relate to the IRRC or literacy.
  • Be concise and to the point.
  • Directly state any specific actions you want your legislator to take. For example:
    • You want overall funding to continue to be appropriated for the IRRC.
    • If there is a particular bill already proposed that you are writing to support, identify the name and/or number of the bill.
  • Focus on your personal connection to the IRRC or how literacy research and education impact you personally when explaining why you are in favor of continued support for it. For example:
    • You are a teacher implementing lessons and activities from our blog or sharing information from our tweets and Facebook posts.
    • You completed free professional learning on a literacy instructional approach through IRRC eLearning.
    • You are a parent who has used IRRC resources from our website with your children to help them practice reading and writing skills at home.
  • Invite the legislator to reply and offer a position on the topic.
  • Include your full name and address in the signature line at the end of the email or letter, which confirms for your legislator that you live in the district they represent.
 
Our students deserve the best literacy education possible, and that can only be achieved with the support of the public. Making your voice heard during the legislative session is one important way you can provide that support.
 
Thank you for reading!
Deborah K. Reed, Ph.D.
Director, Iowa Reading Research Center

www.iowareadingresearch.org

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