The Read to Succeed Act, enacted in 2014, stresses the importance of reading at every grade level. It seeks to ensure that every student is reading on grade level and graduates from high school with the reading and writing skills needed to be college and career ready. The law creates a comprehensive, state-wide approach to reading that includes the following key elements:
A focus on early childhood.
- The law permanently establishes the Child Early Reading Development and Education Program, a full-day 4-K for at-risk children with a focus on reading and school readiness.
- The Program was provided in 64 South Carolina school districts in 2016-17.
High quality reading instruction informed by student data.
- K through 3rd grade students must receive at least 90 minutes of reading and writing instruction daily; students must spend ample time actually practicing reading and writing.
- Teachers and administrators at every grade level must complete new, rigorous coursework designed to improve reading instruction; every elementary school is also required to have a reading coach.
Regular assessments to identify struggling readers as soon as possible.
- A pre-K or Kindergarten readiness assessment is required within 45 days of starting school.
- Schools must regularly assess student progress in reading and writing through grade 12 using valid, reliable assessment methods.
Extra, targeted support for students as soon as they are identified as reading below grade level.
- In grades pre-K through 3, schools must provide intensive in-class interventions individually or in small groups and 30 minutes of supplemental intervention until students reach grade level proficiency.
- In grades 4-12, schools must provide classroom interventions and supplemental assistance by teachers with the required literacy qualifications until students reach grade level proficiency.
Retention in 3rd grade for students who do not reach grade level proficiency by the end of the school year.
- Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, 3rd graders who score at the lowest level on the end-of-year state reading assessment will not be promoted to 4th grade unless they qualify for a good cause exemption.
- Exemptions include: certain limited English proficient students, students with disabilities, and students who have previously been retained; students who can demonstrate proficiency using another approved method; or students meeting grade level proficiency after successfully completing a summer reading camp.
Information and assistance for parents so that they are full partners in developing their child as a reader and writer.
- From pre-K through grade 12, schools must provide parents with regular written updates on their child's progress in reading and writing.
- Parents are to be notified in writing if their child is not reading at grade level, exactly what types of extra help the school will provide, and suggestions on how parents can help.
- Schools will provide parents with information and training on how to support their children as readers and writers both at home and in the community.
Important roles for school-community partnerships.
- Schools are encouraged to partner with local libraries, community organizations, faith-based institutions, pediatricians, businesses, and individuals to promote reading at school, at home and over the summer months, and provide volunteer mentors and tutors.
The article below is an excellent step-by-step guide on how to create a quality classroom library. It includes a self-evaluation checklist to assess the needs of existing classroom libraries, suggestions on websites to help select and level books in the library, and ideas on where to find books and resources for the library.