Snyder signs third-grade reading law - WNEM TV 5

Snyder signs third-grade reading law

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

Michigan is introducing stiffer requirements for children to move past elementary school.

Thursday, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that looks to improve reading scores but could also mean more students get held back.

“As a grandparent as a superintendent, I'm saying this is the right thing to do,” Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall-Neal said.

Third graders must now prove they can read to move on to the fourth grade.

“People learn to read through third grade. After third grade, the research really says you use reading to learn. So it's critical that we are successful by that age,” Snyder said.

The new law says third grade students need a state reading score less than a grade level behind on the M-STEP. If it's worse than that, they repeat the grade.

Snyder said the bill is more than just about testing but about giving schools the tools they need to make sure no kid falls behind.

“It's also about giving teachers good information, good support, good info for parents, including individualized reading plans that may help with them helping their kids at home and literacy coaches,” Snyder said.

While this bill is focused on third grade reading levels, it looks to address a larger issue in Michigan.

“I believe it is a road block of becoming a leader,” John Kennedy said.

Kennedy is a business leader and worked with the governor on making this bill a law.

He said Michigan is falling behind other states in the form of literacy and this bill can help improve that.

“When we tested our workforce, we were a little over fifth grade. So this literacy is a real big impact to make sure our talent in Michigan is trained in order to do the jobs of our future,” Kennedy said.

This new requirement will not kick in right away. It will take effect in to the 2019-2020 school year. 

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