The Third Grade Milestone

Colorado recently took a major step toward ensuring all children can read by third grade when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the READ Act. The law focuses on identifying and providing services for students who have reading deficiencies in kindergarten through third grades to better prepare students for more reading-intensive schoolwork and future success beyond third grade.

According to an Education News Colorado article, the READ Act not only calls upon schools to identify and work closely with students who are struggling with reading in their early school years, but also provides opportunities for parents and teachers to become more involved in students’ progress. In addition to increasing funding for support programs for students with reading deficiencies and professional development services for teachers, the READ Act will require individual READ plans to be created for each child with a significant reading deficiency. Parents, teachers and administrators will also work together to determine whether or not students should advance to the next grade.
We at CLI often discuss the importance of reading by third grade and we know that students who do not reach this milestone are four times more likely to not graduate from high school. Like Gov. Hickenlooper, who stated in a press release that “reading proficiency is the single most powerful foundation that we have for all future success,” we believe that providing children with a strong background in reading and writing will greatly expand their opportunities in school and in life. 
Through our work with teachers and principals in CLI Model Classrooms, we help educators develop the skills and knowledge they need to give their students this critical foundation. While CLI may not be able to work with all teachers in all schools, efforts such as Colorado’s READ Act will help raise awareness of the critical third grade milestone and provide more teachers and schools with the support and resources they need to ensure student achievement and success.