Early childhood literacy was on the minds of many during the last legislative session, including Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joseph A. …
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Early childhood literacy was on the minds of many during the last legislative session, including Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joseph A. Garcia.
Hickenlooper signed the early literacy bill, also known as the READ Act, on May 17.
According to a press release from his office, the bill recognizes the importance of early childhood literacy as a critical foundational skill for later academic development and success.
“This is legislation that really does put kids first,” Hickenlooper said in the release. “Reading proficiency is the single most powerful foundation that we have for all future success.”
Garcia played an active role in getting the bill passed.
He said recent studies have shown that students who are not reading at grade level by the time they are in third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
He said achievement in most grade levels can be determined by mastering reading by third grade.
For that reason, he said, it is important to make sure students’ reading capability is assessed by third grade, and if they are not at grade level, the appropriate measures need to be taken to make sure they reach that level before moving on to fourth grade.
The act calls for individual progress plans to be developed for children who are identified as having deficiencies.
READ plans are customized, scientifically-based intervention plans to help students learn to read.
The bill also makes more opportunities available for educators and parents to get involved with their children’s education to make sure they are reaching grade-level benchmarks.
“It’s not enough to focus on what goes on in the third-grade classroom,”
One group in Jefferson County that is putting this idea into practice this summer is the Jefferson Foundation, a supporter of Jefferson County schools.
The foundation will augment its summer reading program with grant money from Mile High United Way.
Katie Tiernan, executive director of the foundation, said the program will use the grant money to help students retain reading and writing skills over the summer months.
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