Sen. Barbara Anne Washington and Senate Colleagues Invite Educators and the Public to Discuss Childhood Literacy

JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Barbara Anne Washington, D-Kansas City, invites educators, parents and concerned members of the community to participate in a public forum focused on childhood literacy and efforts to ensure all Missouri children entering the fourth grade can read at grade level. Senator Washington, along with Senate colleagues, will lead a discussion about the importance of reading competency and seek input on potential legislative solutions at the event, which is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., at the Bruce R. Watkins Museum and Cultural Center, 3700 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64130.

The public forum is part of a campaign to improve childhood literacy, spearheaded by all 11 women currently serving in the Missouri Senate. Early in 2021, the group joined together to write a book aimed at young readers, “You Can, Too! Journey to the Missouri Senate: 36 Women Senators Share Their Stories,” which recalls the inspiring contributions of every female senator in Missouri history and retraces each lawmaker’s path to the state’s upper legislative chamber.

“I think all of us hope the stories told in ‘You Can, Too!’ will inspire children to pursue their own dreams, possibly even toward public service, but our main goal is to encourage children to read,” Sen. Washington said. “The ability to read is foundational to all learning, so it’s critical all Missouri children are able to read at an appropriate level. This event, and others like it, will allow us to connect with experts and the people who love and care for Missouri’s children so we can find solutions to improve childhood literacy.”

During the 2022 legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly passed Senate Bill 681, which requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop guidelines for reading intervention programs in elementary schools. This legislation, as well as additional reforms intended to improve childhood literacy, will be discussed at the Aug, 12 event.

Educators and those involved in teaching children to read are especially invited to participate, and all interested members of the public are also welcome. For more information, and to reserve your spot, contact Sheron Fulson at or call 573-751-3158.