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News Release - Fewer students in Colorado have reading deficiencies

May 11, 2016

Fewer students in Colorado have reading deficiencies

READ Act credited with helping to improve reading in young students

In its third year of implementation, the READ Act is showing statewide reading improvements. According  to a legislative report released by the Colorado Department of Education, data collected in 2015 show fewer students were identified as having a Significant Reading Deficiency (SRD) than the previous year.

In 2015, 13.8 percent of all K-3 students in Colorado were identified as having an SRD, which is a 2.7 percent decrease since implementation of the READ Act. This is the second consecutive year that the percentage of students identified as having an SRD has decreased.

The READ Act helps ensure every Colorado student reads at a proficient level by third grade. Provisions of the Act promote early identification of reading difficulties and quick, effective intervention to close reading gaps.

“We know that early literacy is a key component of academic and professional success,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Rich Crandall. “By decreasing the number of students identified as at-risk and moving more students toward grade-level proficiency, Colorado can increase student achievement here at home, while also serving as a national model for improving literacy and educational success for all children.”

Overall, each cohort has seen improvement on a year-to-year basis since the READ Act’s implementation in 2013, with the most significant results occurring between first and second grade. Additionally, students who remained in the same school district from first to third grade were more likely to see improvement.

The 2013 cohort included 13,145 first-grade students who were identified as having an SRD. As of 2015, the cohort saw a 54 percent reduction rate in reading deficiencies for those who remained in the same school district.

Other key results include:

  • Schools participating in the Early Literacy Assessment Tool project saw a 44 percent reduction in K-3 students who were most at risk.
  • Schools participating in the 2013-2016 Early Literacy Grant, which is funded every three years, have reduced SRD by 6.6 percent from 2013-2015.
  • Twenty-one percent of all students eligible for free and reduced lunch (FRL) were found to have an SRD, compared with 7 percent of all students who are not eligible for FRL.
  • Female students were 3.4 percent less likely than male students to be identified as having an SRD.
  • Non-English and limited English students both saw decreases in SRD, 1.4 percent and .08 percent, respectively.

To learn more about the READ Act or to obtain the full report please visit