New State Law for 3rd Graders
Posted On:
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

 Starting with the 2017-18 school year, third grade students in South Carolina schools will be required to meet reading expectations for that grade level to be promoted. The change could affect one out of 20 third graders locally.  

 Driving the new reading challenge is a 2014 South Carolina law aimed at sharpening the state’s focus on teaching reading in its public schools. Since the law was passed, the state has spent $164 million on reading coaches and summer reading camps for struggling readers, which state law requires every district to provide. Under the new state law, educators must get training in how to teach reading as part of their certification. School districts also had to spell out how they would teach reading. Districts also are testing students’ reading abilities before they reach third grade and doing so more often than before the law passed. The state pays for more than 650 reading coaches, who work in every elementary school in the state. Those coaches work with teachers to analyze test results to pinpoint the reading skills each child needs help with. The coaches also model lessons and strategies for teaching those skills. Interventions with struggling readers should be happening all year long in every elementary school classroom across the state. 

  For the past two summers in Georgetown County, students who were at risk of not meeting the reading mandate were invited to attend summer reading camps. These reading camps provided individualized reading assistance and small class sizes to give students the remedial opportunities needed for reading proficiency. This is in addition to the intervention they received from teachers throughout the year. The combined efforts of stakeholder groups and organizations such as The United Way, The Village Group and Teach My People, during the school year and the summer, supports the district’s efforts in helping to achieve third grade reading proficiency for students. 

 In the coming weeks, district instructional staff will hold community informational meetings at each elementary school. The purpose of these meetings is to provide awareness about South Carolina Act 284 (Read to Succeed) and answer any questions that parents may have.