This March, Reading Month sparked enthusiasm across the state, with students, teachers, and readers of all levels enjoying stories from a variety of literary genres. From fantasy and sci-fi to mystery thrillers and historical biographies, pages were eagerly turned, enjoying a shared love for reading. Senate Democrats joined in celebrating the importance of Reading Month this March, recognizing its power to promote literacy and education.

The Michigan Senate Majority committed itself this month and every month to uplifting and supporting the importance of reading and education for not only Michigan’s young minds but for every Michigander, recognizing the enduring impact of fostering literacy and learning in our communities.

Reading is Fundamental!

Throughout this past month, senators from the Democratic Caucus went to schools in their districts to read to students and talk about why reading is important. From Princeton Elementary and Huron Academy in Macomb County to Godfrey Elementary in Grand Rapids and Handley Elementary in Saginaw, senators visited classrooms within their districts and shared some of their favorite books with the young readers. 

Our Senate Majority for the People visited elementary classrooms across Michigan to help foster a love of reading in young Michiganders during Reading Month. Senators also discussed their work in the Legislature and fielded questions about state government.

Supporting Students with Dyslexia and Encouraging Literacy Growth
Earlier this month, acknowledging the critical importance of reading and the hurdles faced by some students, the Senate passed Senate Bills 567 and 568. Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia), this comprehensive legislation aims to address the challenges associated with dyslexia by identifying affected children early and providing evidence-based interventions to support their literacy development. 

Dyslexia, a hereditary reading disability, affects a significant portion of the student population, with up to one in five children in each classroom struggling to overcome its challenges. Without proper diagnosis, students with dyslexia are at a higher risk of academic struggles. However, when detected early, educators can intervene and significantly improve outcomes for individuals with dyslexia.

Sen. Irwin’s bill, SB 567, strengthens current assessment procedures, ensuring current screening methods accurately spot signs of dyslexia. Additionally, it mandates that schools screen every student for reading challenges associated with dyslexia, ensuring they’re identified early for proper intervention and support.

SB 568, introduced by Sen. Polehanki, requires teacher training programs to include teachings on dyslexia and proven strategies for reading instruction and support. It also establishes specific criteria for these programs, guaranteeing that educators are equipped with the necessary skills and tools to help students facing dyslexia and other reading challenges succeed.

This legislative package underscores Michigan Senate Democrats’ dedication to prioritizing proactive measures to assist students with dyslexia and promote literacy development. It emphasizes the importance of early intervention and ensures that educators have the essential tools and knowledge to effectively address a range of learning needs. Recognizing the fundamental role of reading in education and lifelong success, Michigan’s Democratic Majority aims to empower students and foster literary success across the state.

Celebrating Reading Month and the Importance of Reading Throughout the Year with Investments in Education
As Michigan Senate Democrats celebrated Reading Month, we reaffirmed our commitment to investing in education, recognizing its pivotal role in shaping the future of Michigan’s students. We understand that access to quality education is the key to unlocking limitless opportunities and positioning the state for long-term success. Despite years of disinvestment in education under previous leadership, Michigan Senate Democrats took decisive action with the 2023-2024 state budget, allocating significant resources to support students throughout their academic journeys.

The 2023-2024 education budget reflects a comprehensive approach to addressing the diverse needs of Michigan’s students. It included initiatives such as universal school meals to combat hunger and enhance students’ ability to focus in the classroom, increased funding and support for students with disabilities, and the largest per-pupil funding increase in state history to ensure students have the necessary resources to thrive. Additionally, student-teacher stipends incentivize individuals to pursue careers in education, addressing the state’s teacher shortage, while historic investments in community colleges and public universities expand access to higher education.

The Democratic Majority also passed additional funding to support efforts enhancing students’ access to clean drinking water in schools, increasing funding for classrooms, eliminating school debt, and supporting critical projects at public universities and community colleges to cultivate a pipeline for high-skilled talent, among other priorities. These investments serve to benefit students, educators, and schools across Michigan, ensuring that future generations of students have the necessary resources to thrive.

Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D- Grand Rapids) and Sen. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) led a roundtable discussion at Brookwood Elementary School to learn from teachers and students about how the state can better support school operations and meet education funding needs.

Recognizing the importance of providing well-researched and effective resources, the Senate Democratic Majority continues to prioritize creating empowering and supportive classroom environments for all students, regardless of background or lived experience.  


Sen. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) joins Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) for an education listening tour where they met with teachers, administrators and students to discuss the 2025 budget. Here, the two senators meet with Lake Shore Superintendent Joe DiPonio to discuss the district’s plans to expand their Childhood and Community Center which will increase access to Pre-K.

As we start crafting the 2024-2025 budget, Michigan’s Democratic senators are meeting with parents, students, teachers, principals and school administrators to best understand which resources need to be prioritized in the upcoming budget to best support their efforts. Throughout the budget process, our Majority for the People will remain committed to advancing student-learning goals and fostering a more equitable learning environment for all.

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