State tackles low reading scores and plans future improvements
ALABAMA (WHNT) — Based on 2021-2022 standardized test results, more than one-fifth of third-graders in Alabama are not reading at a proficient level.
“This means that we have almost a quarter of our young people who are in grade three and they are not reading at grade level, so we want to support these students as they progress through grade four and into college to become better readers,” said Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey.
During the pandemic, the Alabama Department of Education expected to encounter issues with student reading scores. Now that students are back in the classroom, Mackey said the state has several strategies in place to improve reading skills in elementary schools.
First, Mackey said the most important thing happening for students in the next school year is getting back to class. He said it’s important to identify students who need a little extra help reading, and that’s easier to do when students and educators are face-to-face in the classroom.
“That’s why I feel really good about this upcoming school year,” Mackey said. “We believe we won’t have the disruptions we’ve had in the past.”
Mackey said the state has worked to provide students with reading resources beyond the classroom if they need extra help.
“Bring the students, especially if they’re running late, into the summer lineup,” Mackey said. “Summer reading camps are underway. STEM camps are ongoing. After-school camps are underway with our partners across the state.
Many school districts across the state have wide score gaps between their top and bottom performing schools. Mackey said the problem is for districts to address at the local level, and helping students improve their reading scores as early as possible is crucial.
“There is a pathway for every student, but the truth is that we know that students who are behind at the end of third grade remain more likely to stay behind their peers throughout their school experience,” Mackey said. .
Mackey said parental involvement is essential. The state encourages parents to establish relationships with their children’s schools. If your child is struggling, Mackey advised reaching out to educators and the school for additional resources.
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