Lawmakers discuss repealing 3rd grade reading law
SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - As state lawmakers discuss repealing the “Read by Grade Three” law, a former teacher spoke about why this might be beneficial to students.
The “Read by Grade Three” law prevents students from moving to the fourth grade if they aren’t reading at the preferred level.
“We get asked for a lot of help, especially around third grade. We see a lot of very stressed-out parents who come in who are really worried about it,” said Beth Lasky, a former teacher and current children’s library assistant at Butman-Fish Library in Saginaw.
Lasky said the potential repeal of the “Read by Grade Three” law will help ease pressure on children and parents.
“I think if we could take that stress factor out of it and make it so that we can continue to support the schools and the parents make a plan, without that, ‘Oh my gosh, my kid isn’t going to move on with their age-appropriate peers.’ That’s a lot of pressure on a kid,” Lasky said.
The Gov. Rick Snyder-era law requires schools to hold a student back from the fourth grade if they do not pass the Michigan Student Test Educational Progress exam.
Lasky said this practice doesn’t really work.
“It doesn’t really make better readers or make things more effective for kids who get held back. And they’re very aware of their failings. And I don’t think pointing that out to kids helps them improve at all,” Lasky said.
She said the best way to help struggling readers is to provide support for schools, parents, and local libraries.
“We’re really about helping kids learn to love reading. Part of the stigma is that it’s hard. It’s hard to read, but if you can get past the hard part, to the joy of reading to the excitement of reading a new story, and if we can help kids find a book that will do that for them. That’s what we’re here to do,” Lasky said.
The bill to repeal the “Read by Grade Three” law passed in the Education Committee and will move to the Senate floor where it appears to have full support from the new Democratic majority.
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