7 Things to Know about 3rd Grade Reading!

Posted by Dan Quisenberry on September 26, 2017

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It’s been a busy summer and although school is back in session, third grade reading has been a common question from educators across Michigan.

The new law aims at ensuring schools are doing what they can to get students proficient in reading by the end of third grade.  Additionally, when students aren’t proficient by this time, the bill presents a number of options for schools; including retention. 

Here are the top 7 things your school should know about the new 3rd grade reading law:

  1. Beginning in 2019-2020, schools shall not enroll a student in 4th grade until they have demonstrated proficiency that is less than one year behind grade level.
  2. Students can demonstrate proficiency in a number of ways, including through the following means:
    1. M-Step reading assessment in 3rd grade
    2. Alternative, MDE approved assessment
    3. Portfolio of multiple samples of work
  3. Students who qualify for a “good cause” exemption do not have to be retained. What are the “good cause” exemptions?
    • The pupil is a student with an individualized education program (IEP) or with a section 504 plan and the pupil’s individualized education program team or section 504 coordinator, as applicable, makes the decision to exempt the pupil from the laws requirements based upon the team’s or coordinator’s knowledge of the pupil.
    • The pupil is a limited English proficient student who has had less than 3 years of instruction in an English language learner program.
    • The pupil has received intensive reading intervention for 2 or more years but still demonstrates a reading deficiency and was previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3.
    • The pupil has been continuously enrolled in his or her current school district or public school academy for less than 2 years and there is evidence that the pupil was not provided with an appropriate individual reading improvement plan under subsection (2)(b) by the school district or public school academy in which the pupil was previously enrolled.
    • The pupil’s parent or legal guardian has requested a good cause exemption within 30 days after the required notification by CEPI and the superintendent or chief administrator, or his or her designee, determines that the good cause exemption is in the best interests of the pupil.
  4. Students who are proficient in all other areas as measured by the state assessment can be promoted to 4th grade but must receive continued reading interventions.
  5. Your school will be required to select a state approved literacy screening and implement the tool with students in K-3 grades at least three times annually. The first assessment must be conducted within a month of the first day of school.
  6. Any student who does not demonstrate proficiency at any point in the screening process is required to have an individual reading improvement plan, created in consult with their teacher, parent and the school leader. Each school must have a reading intervention program in place that supports students identified as not proficient in reading at any point in the screening process.
  7. Each school must utilize early literacy coaches. The coaches can be accessed through the local ISD or hired directly by the school.

The goal of the bill was to ensure that students receive the appropriate interventions and supports to guarantee that, for the most students possible, literacy is a reality.  MDE has published some support for educators about qualifications. If you have questions on specifics the new law, please contact MAPSA.

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Topics: Reading, Literacy