Idaho Senate Advances Early Literacy Program

Idaho Senate Advances Early Literacy Program

Yesterday, the Idaho Senate passed H 451, a bill to establish an early literacy program to help struggling readers and ensure all students are reading on grade level. The bill follows Governor Butch Otter’s bold commitment to early literacy efforts that ensure all Idaho students are successful readers by the end of third grade.

“The unfortunate reality for our children is that future success can be handicapped at a harshly young age. Students who do not become capable readers by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school later on, and from there you can track the statistics into the juvenile justice system,” said ExcelinEd in Action Executive Director Patricia Levesque. “If a child struggles to read, all the other subjects become a moot point. I commend Governor Otter for his leadership on this issue and thank Representative Julie VanOrden and Idaho lawmakers, the State Board of Education and State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra who understand the critical importance of K-3 literacy and the need to engage schools, teachers and parents in finding collaborative solutions for each and every struggling reader.”

H 451 earned bipartisan support and the backing of a strong coalition of education groups, including Idaho Business for Education, Idaho Rural Schools Association, Idaho Association of School Administrators, Idaho Education Association and Idaho Schools Boards Association.

The House of Representatives passed H 451 on February 24, 2016 with nearly unanimous support. The bill will now move on to Governor Otter’s desk for signature.

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Background on H 451:

  • The greatest impact for ensuring student success in kindergarten through third grade is a productive collaboration among parents, trained teachers and schools.
  • Reaching this major benchmark requires an important partnership between a parent and a child as the child develops listening and speaking skills in their early years that form the foundation for reading and writing.
  • It is paramount that parents are informed about the status of their children’s educational progress and that teachers and schools have the resources and support they need to effectively teach reading, assess student achievement, provide intervention when necessary and establish a solid foundation for a student’s academic success.
  • The bill includes provisions for:
    • Reading Instruction and Intervention.
    • Reading Improvement Plans.
    • Parent Notification.
    • District Annual Reporting.
  • Department of Education responsibilities including a state-level summary report to the state board of education, the public, the governor and the legislature and provide technical assistance as needed to aid school districts in implementing this law.