HB 12-1238: Colorado READ Act
The Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act (Colorado “READ” Act), provides districts resources to help K-3 students struggling to read, passed the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law in May 2012.
The Colorado READ Act establishes a process for districts to identify K-3 students who read below grade level and work with their parents to provide extra reading support before students reach the fourth grade. The bill also creates the Early Literacy Grant Program to provide funding to districts for literacy assessments, professional development, instructional support, and appropriate interventions, and will distribute approximately $16 million to districts for use in one of three literacy support programs: full day kindergarten, tutoring services, or summer school.
What Will the Bill Do?
If an early-grade learner is identified as having a significant reading deficiency (SRD), 1 the student’s teacher must notify the student’s parent(s) and invite the parent(s) to work with the teacher to develop a student-specific Reading to Ensure Academic Development Plan (“READ Plan”). The student’s READ Plan must include: (1) a description of the student’s specific reading skill deficiencies, (2) a discussion of the likely consequences to the student of not achieving reading competency, (3) the specific interventions and instruction the teacher will use to help the student progress, and (4) the specific strategies that will help the student progress if used at home by the parent(s). If, after making attempts, the teacher is unable to meet with the student’s parent to create the READ Plan, the teacher and other skilled school professionals shall create the student’s READ Plan and ensure the parent receives a copy.
If, at the end of the school year, a student has a significant reading deficiency, the Act requires the teacher, parent(s) and any other personnel to meet to discuss whether the student should or should not advance based on their likelihood of maintaining adequate academic progress in the next grade level. If the parent(s) fails to attend the meeting, the teacher and the LEP will decide whether the student is to advance. If, however, the student is completing the third grade, the decision is subject to the final approval by the school district’s superintendent or, if the student is enrolled in a charter school or school operated by a board of cooperative services, by the school principal.
In addition to establishing a $4 million Early Literacy Grant Program in the Colorado Department of
Education to provide funding to LEPs for literacy assessments, professional development, instructional
support, and appropriate interventions, the Act allocates approximately $16 million to be distributed to LEPs based on the number of identified SRD kids. Districts have flexibility in determining how to use the
dollars, but the Act creates the following literacy supports:
• Full-Day Kindergarten: makes it possible for districts to provide full-day kindergarten services to students who need them
• Tutoring Services: allows districts to purchase tutoring services in reading for students
• Summer School Literacy Programs: allows districts or Boards of Cooperative Educational Services to operate a summer school literacy program
• Charges LEPs to measure reading competency for early-grade students and to provide students in kindergarten through third grade with instruction and special services, ensuring that early-grade students develop functional literacy
• If a student has a significant reading deficiency, teacher and parent(s) create a student-specific READ Plan, which must follow the student to another school or district and must be part of a student’s academic record until the student achieves reading proficiency
• If a student is identified as having a disability or needing modifications that impact his/her progress in developing reading skills, LEP to integrate intervention instruction and strategies to address student’s reading issues in the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
• Charges CDE to create resource bank of approved assessments, instructional programs, and professional development tools for LEPs and possibly provide technical assistance and coaching
• Creates process for teachers, parents, and other LEP personnel to jointly determine whether a student should advance to the next grade level when the student has a significant reading deficiency
• If the student is completing third grade, subjects the decision to advance a student identified with a significant reading deficiency to the superintendent’s or the principal’s approval
• A student is exempt from the Act’s provisions regarding grade-level advancement, if the student:
o Is enrolled in kindergarten before 2013-14 academic year;
o Has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and is eligible to take the alternative statewide assessment;
o Is an English language learner and the student’s significant reading deficiency is due primarily due to language; or
o Has already been in the same grade for two years.
• Replaces Read-to-Achieve Grant Program with Early Literacy Grant Program
• Allocates approximately $16 million to be distributed to LEPs based on the number of identified SRD kids. Districts have flexibility in determining how to use the dollars, but the Act creates the following literacy supports:
o Full-Day Kindergarten: makes it possible for districts to provide full-day kindergarten services to students who need themo Tutoring Services: allows districts to purchase tutoring services in reading for students
o Summer School Literacy Programs: allows districts or Boards of Cooperative Educational Services to operate a summer school literacy program
• Requires each LEP to report data annually to assist CDE in determining (1) whether students who receive READ Plans achieve reading competency, (2) how long it takes them to do so, and (3) whether prohibiting a student from advancing to the next grade level has a positive effect on the student’s reading skill level
• Requires CDE to analyze LEP-reported data and to prepare annual summary report for State Board of Education, the Governor, the Senate President and Speaker of the House, and the education committees of the General Assembly