News Releases

Raatz Roundup: Improving early literacy skills in Hoosier children

Submitted for use on Jan. 30, 2023
Word Count: 331

Improving early literacy skills in Hoosier children

By State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond)

Nearly one in five kids in Indiana is currently at risk of falling behind in reading, and ILEARN scores repeatedly show Hoosier students are struggling to retain the reading skills needed for academic and career success.

In 2022, with the help of the Lilly Endowment, the state invested nearly $111 million to help prepare current and future teachers for the Science of Reading instruction – a research-based strategy that uses practices such as phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

To help children receive a jumpstart in their literacy skills before ever entering the classroom, they need access to books at home. This is why I authored Senate Bill 340, which would establish the Indiana Imagination Library to provide Hoosier children from birth to age five free high-quality books each month regardless of income level.

The Indiana Imagination Library would be in partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which has gifted nearly 200 million books to nearly 2.3 million children nationwide and in four other countries abroad. The program also provides printable activity sheets for each book.

Making sure our children are equipped with books early in life is important in helping them be successful in their education and future careers. As chair of the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development, I understand how important it is for all children to be able to read and develop their literacy skills. I hope to see SB 340 pass through the legislative process and improve early literacy skills in Hoosier children statewide.

SB 340 was heard by the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development last week and will be voted on by the committee this week.

Committee hearings, legislative calendars, agendas, vote tallies and proposed legislation can be viewed online by visiting

For more information about SB 340, click here.

If you have any questions or concerns on these or other topics, feel free to contact me at or 317-233-0930.


State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond) represents Senate District 27, which includes
Henry, Union and Wayne counties, and portions of Franklin County.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.