SC Senate bill proposes holding back third-graders not reading on grade level

SC Senate bill proposes holding back third-graders not reading on grade level

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Third-graders across the state who struggle with reading could be held back under a new law. It's part of a plan proposed by state lawmakers and the Education Oversight Committee.

If approved, the Read To Succeed Act would serve as the platform for every school district in the state.

Stacy Rubin, an Associate Reading Teacher at James B. Edwards Elementary School specializes in reading on the 2nd and 3rd grade levels.

Rubin said, "One of the things we're working on right now is helping them to get their thoughts from their head onto paper and doing it in a really clear way."

Reading well by third-grade is critical, according to a recent study. It found those reading below grade level by third-grade were six times more likely not to graduate from high school.

Betsy Reidenbach, CCSD Director of Instructional Support said, "Often times all they need is the extra practice. The small group provides them with that direct instruction on areas that they need, but also the important part of it is give them time to actually read and practice those skills."

The Read To Succeed Act is currently making its way through the state Senate and if approved every school district will have to base their literacy curriculum off of the plan. It calls for reading programs as early as kindergarten with the focus on finding struggling readers before entering third-grade.

The last option in the plan is to hold back third-graders who need additional help. The students will go through summer reading camp and receive lessons to fit their needs.

Barbara Hairfield, Vice Chair of the Education Oversight Committee said, "A lot of the things that are required in this bill, (S) 516 if it passes, are already in place in Charleston County, but the fact is we have many counties, many districts that are not making that progress."

The plan would also require teachers to go back for additional training, but so far there is nothing in the bill that states where the funding for the new programs will come from.

The State House of Representatives also plan to make a version of the bill before a final draft is approved.

Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.