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Female state senators work across the aisle to improve childhood literacy in Missouri

Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
State Sen. Jill Schupp, co-author of “You Can Too!” which details the stories of the 36 women who have served in the Missouri Senate, July 13 at St. Louis Public Radio’s headquarters in Grand Center.

No matter which side of the aisle you’re on in the Missouri state Senate, you can get behind childhood literacy.

That’s what Sen. Jill Schupp shared on St. Louis on the Air. Schupp and the 10 other women currently serving in the state Senate are working together to address fourth grade reading levels across Missouri.

“We have 19 states that are ahead of us in terms of making sure that all kids can read in fourth grade and read on grade level,” said Schupp, D-Creve Coeur. “We wanted to make sure that we improve those numbers in the state of Missouri because we know that not being able to read is problematic, and being able to read on grade level really improves everybody’s chance of getting ahead, fulfilling their dreams, and goals in life.”

Female state senators work across the aisle to improve childhood literacy in Missouri

The 11 senators are traveling across the state to host forums with educators and parents. Their first stop is Aug. 5 in St. Louis at Harris-Stowe State University and Jennings High School.

Missouri’s legislature recently addressed reading levels in Senate Bill 681, which passed during the previous session. It includes a provision that requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop guidelines for reading intervention programs in elementary schools.

Schupp said: “We proposed ongoing reading assessments so that we know how kids are doing and if they are falling behind. … We have their team at the school get together and figure out what we can do. We will make sure that the child receives interventions and support.”

Schupp contributed her story, “You Can, Too! Journey to the Missouri Senate: 36 Women Senators Share Their Stories.” The book contains stories from every woman to serve in the Senate.

“We want kids to succeed at whatever their goals are, but as you can see by the numbers of women who have served in the Missouri Senate, 36 women versus 1,118 men … women’s voices and representation is important, too,” said Schupp. “We would love to encourage young people to get involved with policy [and] politics and perhaps run for office. We know that they can do it because we did it.”

Related Event

What: Childhood Literacy Discussion

When: Aug. 5

Where: Emerson Performance Arts Center, Harris-Stowe State University, 3026 Laclede Ave., at 1:30 p.m.
Jennings High School Auditorium, 8850 Cozens Ave., at 4 p.m.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Miya is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air."

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