Price introduces measure to increase literacy rates in public schools

Bill would improve third-grade reading proficiency across state

State Rep. Amanda Price today introduced legislation to create a “Third Grade Reading Guarantee” in Michigan’s public schools.

House Bill 5111 improves third-grade reading proficiency by requiring that students meet a minimum benchmark for advancement to the next grade level.

“Reading proficiency is one of the most important measurements in public education, and it is time we make this a top priority for our students,” said Price, R-Park Township. “Similar legislation has been proven effective in Florida and other states, where illiteracy rates have declined because of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

“If we fail to teach our students to read, we have failed them for the rest of their lives.”

A total of 32 states and the District of Columbia have policies in place to improve third grade reading proficiency, and 14 states require retention of students on the basis of reading proficiency. Most require assessment and remediation for kindergarten through third-grade students.

“Up until third grade, students are learning to read, but beginning in fourth grade, they being reading to learn,” said Price, R-Park Township. “This bill ensures a solid foundation is laid, so we can build a truly competitive, top-notch education on top of it.”

In 2012, 32 percent of third-graders did not meet the minimum reading proficiency benchmark, but less than 1 percent of the 113,000 third-graders in Michigan were retained in their public school.

House Bill 5111 was referred to the House Education Committee.