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Introduction

Colorado's Call to Action

The Colorado Literacy Framework issues from the mission of the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to “provide all Colorado children equal access to quality, thorough, uniform, well-rounded educational opportunities in a safe, civil environment,” and the vision that “all children in Colorado will become educated and productive citizens.”

In 2007, Commissioner Jones released “Forward Thinking,” the plan for closing achievement gaps and increasing high school graduation rates in all Colorado schools. The plan outlines CDE’s commitment to:

  • provide guidance and support to districts and schools.
  • enhance professional development.
  • develop tools to eliminate achievement gaps and increase learning across the curriculum for all students in Colorado.

One of the Commissioner’s priorities is the “development of a consistent voice around literacy with which to address literacy challenges in the state and provide a foundation for focused support from CDE.” This is a necessary step toward launching “a statewide literacy achievement plan that creates a coherent system for preschool through postsecondary initiatives” (Colorado Department of Education, “Forward Thinking,” 2009, p. 7).

As McCardle and Chhabra (2004, p. 40) state:

… we stand at a crossroads in education … In a nation with as much promise as America … we must no longer allow nearly half of our children to suffer from educational malnutrition. We have a marvelous opportunity before us. Let us seize the moment.

Colorado recognizes literacy as a statewide priority through a sustained collaborative focus on this gateway to opportunity.

Purpose of the Colorado Literacy Framework

In the anticipated re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the United States Department of Education published the Blueprint for Reform (March 2010) calling for states to “develop comprehensive, evidence-based, preK-12 literacy plans and to align federal, state and local funds to provide high-quality literacy instruction” (p. 26).

The Colorado Literacy Framework document captures the collaborative work of CDE leadership and staff during 2009-2010 to develop a consistent voice around literacy. The framework guides all literacy initiatives and literacy-related grants administered by the Colorado Department of Education. Going forward, the framework also establishes the foundation for developing a P-12 literacy plan to inform high-quality literacy instruction in Colorado.

Colorado Department of Education's Literacy Vision

Literacy is the backbone of a democratic society and is the gateway to opportunity. Anchored in the most rigorous evidence-based research available, the CDE collaboratively leads, supports, and extends effective practice in literacy for all learners. As stewards of the public trust, the CDE embraces responsibility for providing leadership and support for educational excellence in partnership with our constituents, the residents of Colorado.

Audience for the Colorado Literacy Framework

The Colorado Literacy Framework provides a context for the literacy work of the Colorado Department of Education and guides the organization’s support to its constituents, primarily educators, community members and administrators involved in literacy instruction. The framework supports the charge of CDE “to create a purpose-driven and dynamic system of educational leadership, service and support that relentlessly focuses on the learning of all students.”

The Colorado Literacy Framework

  • The document also serves as a foundation in literacy for CDE’s work which is to provide:
  • guidance and support to meet district and school needs.
  • professional development in best practices.
  • tools to eliminate gaps and increase achievement for all students.
  • a seamless, collaborative leadership system with intentional intensity, urgency and impatience.
  • efficient and effective use of federal, state and private funds.
  • a reliable source for research, data and analysis envied by all professionals.
  • a model for building expanded leadership capacity.

Colorado's Definition of Literacy

Colorado’s Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, and Communicating provide the context for defining literacy.


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Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
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