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February 3, 2022 3:48pm

Read to Succeed Act advances in House

This week, House Bill 226 was passed by the House Appropriations & Revenue committee and would establish an early literacy program in Kentucky schools. HB 226, a companion bill to Senate Bill 9 which was passed by the Senate last week, would create the “Read to Succeed” program with an $11 million allocation in each year of the upcoming biennial budget.

Sponsored in the House by GLI 2021 MVP Representative James Tipton, the legislation seeks to implement important reforms to improve third grade literacy rates, a key indicator of high school graduation rates for students. The program would include the use of evidence-based reading strategies, a reading universal screener, reading diagnostic assessments, and training for all K-3 teachers.

GLI strongly supports the passage of this legislation. We know that positioning students for educational success creates an educated and competitive workforce that will allow our region to grow and compete.

Read the statement by GLI president and CEO Sarah Davasher-Wisdom on the Read to Succeed Act.

What is the need?

KPREP assessments from the 2020-2021 school year show that only 29.8% of Kentucky students are reading proficiently by the end of the third grade. Research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that 16% of students not proficient in reading by the third grade do not graduate high school on time and the data is even more dire for minority students.

Read to Succeed follows a model implemented in Mississippi that has seen great success and led to significant improvement in National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing scores.

Provisions of Read to Succeed include:

  • High-quality instructional resources to support critical literacy education needs
  • Partnerships that strengthen student success. This legislation would create an intervention team comprised of parents, educators and key partners in literacy and early education to develop high-quality and evidence-based year-round programming for early literacy
  • Provides young students with opportunities for reading enrichment and improvement. A common assessment would be used to determine which students are struggling and would create a reading improvement plan. Strong readers would also be identified and provided opportunities for reading enrichment.
  • Initiates a statewide professional development program for early literacy instruction for all elementary school teachers and leader.

Also included in HB 226 is language to amend the Read to Achieve program, first established by the General Assembly in 2005, to provide school districts with funds to assist in hiring reading interventionist specialists for students in need of additional support.

The measure is scheduled to be heard for final passage on the House floor in the coming days.