Bipartisan Support for Early Literacy in Colorado Will Improve Support for Struggling Readers

Bipartisan Support for Early Literacy in Colorado Will Improve Support for Struggling Readers

Today, Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 19-199 into law to help more Colorado students read on grade level before entering fourth grade. SB 199 passed the legislature with unanimous support.

The new law raises expectations, increases transparency and provides teacher support around the READ Act.

“The research is crystal clear: Students who leave third grade unable to read at grade level face dramatically longer odds of graduating high school and embarking on a successful, well-paying career.

“Thanks to bipartisan leadership from Colorado Senators Nancy Todd and Bob Rankin, Representatives Julie McCluskie and James Wilson, this legislation puts the focus on the classroom, teachers and helps students have the critical reading skills they need to be successful in school and in life.”

Tom Greene, Senior Legislative Director for ExcelinEd in Action

Senate Bill 199 does the following:

  • School districts must create a systematic performance plan that outlines how the district is coordinating and aligning services, interventions and professional development based on the science of reading to help struggling readers;
  • Creates an approved list of evidence-based reading programs, technologies to help with assessment, and professional development for teachers;
  • Ensures schools provide struggling readers a minimum amount of uninterrupted instruction time that is research-based;
  • Ensures school districts publicly report formative and summative academic achievement data for their struggling readers;
  • Requires a third-party evaluator to determine which districts are making progress and districts that need more support;
  • Creates a new required reading certification for teachers and support staff based on the science of reading. This new certification should align teacher preparation, professional development and support centered on the five pillars of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension; and
  • Creates a public awareness campaign to encourage community engagement and partnerships with local libraries.

For more on the importance of early literacy, visit the ExcelinEd policy library.