AB 2222 is Dead; DDCA Continues to Fight for the Right to Read

Assembly Education Chair, Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) did not schedule AB 2222 for comprehensive early literacy legislation to be heard by the Assembly Education Committee. The deadline for scheduling the hearing was 5 pm Thursday, April 11. This means our bill is dead without even the benefit of being heard in Committee.

It is very disappointing that it came down to two legislators (Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) and Assembly Education Chair Muratsuchi) who decided not to let our bill move forward for a vote in Assembly Education.

This is the EdSource article that was released today on AB 2222. Please take a moment to post a comment at the end of the EdSource article.

The decision came in the face of tremendous support for AB 2222, built in just over two months. AB 2222 had:

  • 69 supporting organizations 
  • 16 bi-partisan co-authors
  • More than 1,000 individual letters of support
  • 41 letters from school district leaders representing 25 school districts serving more than 300,000 students

The organization, Education Trust-West, took a support if amended position. The bill faced opposition from 4 organizations:  California Teachers Association, California Association for Bilingual Education,  Californians Together, and Loyola Marymount University Center for Equity for English Learners.

We knew from the introduction of AB 2222 that passing comprehensive early literacy legislation in a significant state deficit year was going to be a challenge.  DDCA is committed to continue pursuing this legislation next legislative session and beyond if necessary and hope you will join us!

Special thanks to Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) for authoring AB 2222 and for her fearless advocacy to improve literacy outcomes for all California kids.

We are grateful to the following 69 organizations and bill co-sponsors for their support for AB 2222:

Organization Letters of Support on Record:
Decoding Dyslexia CA (co-sponsor)
EdVoice (co-sponsor)
Families in Schools (co-sponsor)
21st Century Alliance
Alliance College-Ready Public Schools Foundation
Black Parallel School Board
Boon Philanthropy Inc.
Boys & Girls Club-Hollywood
California Catholic Conference
California State Parent Teacher Association
California Reading Coalition
California Education Justice Alliance
California Youth Services
Charles Armstrong School
Chico Unified School District
Children’s Defense Fund-California
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER)
Disability Rights California
Disability Rights and Education Defense Fund
Dyslexia Training Institute
Educators for  Excellence-Los Angeles
Equitable Ed Advocates
Equitable Literacy For All
Eye to Eye
Families in Action for Quality Education
Fourth District PTA
Glean Education
GP II Foundation
Hawley Special Education Advocacy
Innovate Public Schools
KIPP Bay Area Public Schools
KIPP So-Cal Public Schools
International Dyslexia Association – Los Angeles
International Dyslexia Association – Northern California
International Dyslexia Association – SoCal TriCounties Branch
Learning Disabilities Association of California
Learning Rights Law Center
Lighthouse Community Public Schools
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Mt. Diablo Unified School District Community Advisory Committee for Special Education
NAACP California Hawaii State Conference
National Council On Teacher Quality
National Parents Union
North Bridge Academy
North Region SELPA Community Advisory Committee
Oakland Literacy Coalition
Our Voice: Communities for Quality Education
Palomar Council Parent Teacher Association
Peralta District Parent Teacher Association
Project Second Chance, Inc.
Reading for Berkeley
Right to Read Project
Sacramento Literacy Foundation
San Francisco/Second District PTA
San Francisco Unified School District Community Advisory Committee for Special Education
San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs
San Ramon Valley Unified School District SELPA
Santa Barbara Reading Coalition
Seaside Elementary School PTA
Smart Justice California
San Francisco Parent Coalition
The Dyslexia Project
The Oakland REACH
The Reading League California
Third District PTA
Thirty-Second District PTA
Thirty-Third District PTA
Walnut Grove PTA



Free Audiobook Resources

Access to free audiobooks is a right afforded to those
with reading difficulties, including those at risk of or with dyslexia.

Do you or your child struggle with reading and want recreational audiobooks and/or classroom material audiobooks for free? If so, please read this blog!

Through various state and federally funded programs, people with reading difficulties, including those at risk of or with dyslexia, are able to gain access to two libraries of audiobooks, at no cost, for use both in and out of the classroom.

*Recreational Audiobooks*

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) administers a free library program housing a huge collection of audiobooks for residents of the United States (and American citizens living abroad) who have difficulty reading.

What are the steps to take advantage of this free resource?

  1. Determine which NLS library you’re assigned to (based on which county you live in) at this link. Then go to your assigned library:

  2. Complete and submit an application, which can be found on the library’s website. (On the website for the Southern California option, first click on the “Become a Patron” button.)

    • If you are completing the application for yourself or as a parent or guardian of a child, a certifying authority* must attest that you or the child are unable to read the printed word due to a learning/reading disability by completing a designated portion of the application.
    • It is important to note that a student does not have to have an IEP or a 504 plan in order for a certifying authority to attest that a student would benefit from audiobooks.

  3. After your submitted application is processed, you will be provided access to the library of audiobooks one of two ways through the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service:
    • App for mobile devices: Audiobooks can be downloaded directly to the mobile device for immediate use. The app was designed specifically for ease and usability, and encompasses many helpful features.
    • USB drive (containing books) and NLS device (talking book machine): The NLS device comes with a headphone jack; and, all NLS materials and components ship through the mail for free.

If a teacher, school librarian or other public school professional would like to complete an application on behalf of students they serve, they will do so as an “institution” and will be granted the same access to the free library of audiobooks. The institution application can be found on the library’s website or by contacting the library directly.

A few additional points worth mentioning:

  • BARD continually adds to their library of over 120,000 books, including books for all ages in all genres and in multiple languages. BARD’s library also includes podcasts, cookbooks, how-to guides for coding and web design, magazines and even rulebooks for video games, just to name a sampling.
  • It’s estimated that only 5% of the eligible population is taking advantage of this free library service. The employees at each of California’s four NLS libraries are eager to spread the word and answer questions, and we encourage everyone to explore their websites and contact them for any further help you or your child may need!
  • The California School Library Association wrote a blog in 2021 discussing the services of the Northern California NLS library, the Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL). While it covers BTBL, the services and information shared in the blog apply to all four of California’s NLS libraries.

*Classroom Material Audiobooks*

California’s Department of Education’s Clearinghouse for Specialized Media and Technology (CSMT) produces and disseminates to public schools throughout the state, at no cost, audiobook versions of textbooks, workbooks, and literature books that have been adopted by California’s State Board of Education. (If a school is using a classroom curriculum not on the state adopted list, they would have to procure and pay for the accessible materials on their own.) 

This means that students with reading difficulties, including those at risk of or with dyslexia, can be easily and efficiently provided appropriate access to their K-8 education curriculum. (High school instructional materials not included in what CSMT provides as those are a local decision and do not go through the State Board of Education adoption process.) 

Any California public school educator or personnel can apply for an account online with the Instructional Materials Ordering and Distribution System (IMODS). CSMT will review the application and once approved, their IMODS account will provide them access to all classroom material audiobooks to share with the students they serve. (As of 2024, CSMT has discontinued the creation of audiobook files due to advances in text-to-speech technology on computers and assistive devices; however, audiobook files that have already been created will remain available to download in IMODS. For any state-adopted material not already existing in IMODS as an audiobook file, CSMT will provide the publisher’s digital format of the material and it can be played on computers and assistive devices using its text-to-speech technology.)

Again, it is important to note that students do not have to have an IEP or a 504 plan in order for school personnel to determine that they would benefit from these audiobooks.

We encourage you to share these free resources with others, including your child’s school. And if you haven’t already, please be sure to sign up for DDCA emails to stay informed on all literacy-related efforts in California.