March 29, 2019
State Board of Education supports legislation to revamp READ Act
DENVER – The Colorado State Board of Education today in a special meeting voted to support legislation that would make several changes to the Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act (READ Act).
The board voted to support Senate Bill 19-199 with amendments. The amendments would focus on increased accountability for all parties, reduced reporting and data requirements, ensuring appropriate educator preparation in the science of reading and general streamlining of the legislation.
“This board has long supported efforts to improve early literacy with the understanding that it is essential to all education,” said Board Chairwoman Angelika Schroeder. “We also understand that the READ Act needs to be retooled in order for it to be effective.”
“Getting students to read proficiently by the third grade is part of our basic agenda, and we need legislation that accomplishes that,” said Board Vice Chairman Steve Durham.
The Colorado READ Act was initially passed in 2012 by the Colorado legislature. The legislation’s purpose was to ensure that every student in Colorado can read at grade level by the time they exit third grade. Convincing research by a variety of sources shows students who cannot read by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
The bill as currently written would make several changes, including directing every district to adopt a reading education plan and for the Colorado Department of Education to monitor the implementation of those plans; requiring instructional programming and services for teaching reading be focused on foundation reading skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency and reading comprehension; and specifying that students with identified significant reading deficiencies and those who read below grade level receive a specified minimum amount of educator-assisted reading time each day.
Additionally, the board voted to support Senate Bill 19-176 with amendments that would expand concurrent enrollment opportunities for students to earn postsecondary course credit while enrolled in high school.