The American Initiative on Reading and Writing, also called ReadWriteNow!, was launched by the U.S. Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, in May, 1995. Its goals are to assist families in fostering good literacy habits in their children and to assist schools and other youth and educational organizations in improving reading and writing abilities. The target audience for the Initiative is preschoolers and elementary level students, with special emphasis on grades K-6. Through partnerships with social and educational organizations, professional organizations, and private business, the Initiative has launched a series of activities, including a summer reading program, a national tutoring effort, and a mentoring project on the World Wide Web (The Alphabet Superhighway). Currently in planning are a national directory of reading and writing resources and organizations, and an advertising campaign for vocabulary (The Wild World of Words). Under funding from the Pew Charitable Trust, two additional projects are being pursued: the drafting of a white paper by leading researchers and educators on the improvement of reading instruction and the development of a multiple indicator system for tracking reading abilities and interests in the U.S. The white paper will drafted in cooperation with both the Council of Chief State School Officers and the International Reading Association, with other professional organizations being invited to comment on draft reports.

ReadWriteNow! Contents

Read*WriteNow! is directed by the Planning and Evaluation Service Department of the U.S. Department of Education. A research advisory group, chaired by Professor Richard L. Venezky, advises the project and assists in project planning. Significant support for specific projects has been provided by Pizza Hut and Hadassah.