Bill to boost reading proficiency headed to governor - WNEM TV 5

Bill to boost reading proficiency headed to governor

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CLIO, MI (WNEM) -

Michigan lawmakers took a step to make sure students are ready to become life-long readers and learners.

A bill is on its way to the governor that would not only boost funding, but put extra emphasis on literacy in Michigan schools.

"My daughter, she's in third grade and she needs a little bit extra help in reading," said Maria Gilbert, parent.

She said she knows her child is doing everything she can to read well.

Now state lawmakers have brought reading proficiency to the head of the class. The legislation would require all third graders to read at grade level. If they can't meet those expectations the students would face the possibility of being held back.

Gilbert said she supports the measure that has been approved by both the House and Senate.

"If you can't read or understand what you're reading it's harder to move forward in anything," she said.

School administrators said they support the bill for what it's trying to accomplish.

"The focus on reading and making sure our kids can read at grade level is a good thing," said Fletcher Spears, superintendent for Clio schools.

Spears said his district does a lot to make sure students develop good reading skills. He said the inability to read will cast a shadow on a bright education.

"Students who are not able to read at grade level entering the third grade, research shows they struggle and often times struggle all the way through school," Spears said.

He said while having a law aimed at improving reading proficiency is good, it will take parents working with educators hand in hand to make sure a good education is a reality for so many students.

"I think I could probably speak for every district in the state of Michigan. We're all behind improving our children's ability to read. If this helps us great, but we're going to have to work together," Spears said.

As for Gilbert, she said her daughter is improving at reading every day. She knows how important reading and understanding words can be.

"I want her to succeed. I want her to be happy," Gilbert said.

It took three years to push the legislation through both Michigan chambers. If Gov. Rick Snyder signs the bill the law could become effective next school year.

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