The Colorado Senate today gave unanimous bipartisan support to the READ Act, which gives school districts and parents tools to help struggling K-3 students develop their reading skills.
Senator Johnston, the bill’s co-sponsor, worked with parents, teachers, and school groups to amend the bill’s provisions to provide districts with more tools and resources to aid early literacy efforts. The bill was praised by Democrats and Republicans before today’s vote and is expected to receive Governor Hickenlooper’s signature.
The READ Act focuses on early identification of and intervention for students in kindergarten through third-grade (collectively, “early-grade learners”) who read below grade level.
Beginning in the 2013-14 academic year, local education providers (“LEPs”) are to begin assessing all early-grade learners and diagnosing students’ specific reading skills deficiencies. If an early-grade learner is identified as having a significant reading deficiency (SRD), 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:
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: