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Opinion Read to Achieve Law eliminates social promotion at third grade

In N.C., there are some recent changes in the law regarding third grade students. In the fall of 2013, third-grade students were given a beginning-of-grade standardized test to see how they are reading. At the end of third grade, students will take end-of-grade tests in reading and in mathematics. These tests tell the parents, teacher and principal if the child has learned the basic skills that he or she needs to be successful in fourth grade.

North Carolina state law (Read to Achieve) now requires that third graders who are not reading at a proficient level on the end-of-grade test be given additional support. If your child is not proficient on the end-of-grade test in reading at the end of third grade:

The child will be given the opportunity to retest.

If the child is not proficient on the retest, he or she can attend a free summer reading camp to help improve his or her reading skills.

Following summer reading camp, the child’s reading will be assessed again.

If the child’s reading is proficient, he or she will be eligible for promotion to fourth grade.

If the child does not score proficient, he or she will be placed in fourth grade classes the following year with a third-grade retention label. Ninety minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction will be provided daily in these classes. The child will be eligible to retake the reading test in late October to achieve a mid-year promotion and have the thirdgrade retention label removed. The child will remain in the same fourth grade class for the entire school year and continue to receive the uninterrupted reading instruction throughout fourth grade to support ongoing improvement in reading skills.

This new reading requirement will begin for the first time with the children who began third grade in the fall of 2013. Here are some ideas for strengthening reading skills in the early years so children come to school ready to be successful:

Set aside time daily for your child to read and for you to read to your child. Ask them questions about the story.

Visit the local public library and check out books.

Encourage your child to talk, draw, and write about the things that interest him or her.

Let your child know that third grade will offer many opportunities for fun and exciting learning.

Each elementary school will be offering third grade parents an information session about the Read to Achieve Law. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your child’s principal or teacher.


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