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READ Plan Guidance for Students in Grades 4-12

Introduction / Overview

The Colorado READ Act passed in 2012 by the Colorado legislature with the purpose of ensuring every student in Colorado can read at grade level by the time they exit third grade. The legislation was born out of convincing research by a variety of sources, including by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, that shows students who cannot read by the end of the third grade are four times more likely to dropout of high school. The provisions of the Act promote early identification of reading difficulties and effective intervention to quickly close reading gaps and ensure all Colorado students can demonstrate a level of competency in reading skills necessary to achieve success in school. READ Act starts by making sure all students receive instruction in the foundational skills of reading. This continues through the grades until each third-grade student can read with ease, understand the materials, and think critically.

What happens if a student enters into the fourth grade and cannot read grade-level texts with ease, demonstrate understanding of grade-level material, and/or think critically as asked in the Colorado Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, and Communicating? What happens if the same student has been identified as having a significant reading deficiency (SRD) and is subsequently placed on a READ plan prior to leaving third grade? What does it mean when a student in grades 4 thru 12 is on a READ plan? 

In response to the numerous inquiries received from school and district leaders and educators regarding how to support the reading literacy proficiency of students who remain on READ plans beyond the third grade, the Colorado Department of Education formed a cross-departmental working group comprised of literacy experts from the Office of Standards and Instructional Support, the Elementary Literacy and School Readiness Office, the Culturally Linguistic and Diverse Education Office, the Exceptional Student Services Unit, and the Office of Learning Supports to create, compile, and provide detailed guidance and considerations grounded in scientific and research-based practices aligned to READ Act and other federal and state legislation (e.g., IDEA).  

The guidance in each categorical bucket below is intended to provide all Colorado districts with research, resources, and training opportunities to support students who remain on READ plans beyond the third grade. The goal is to ensure that students achieve reading proficiency, and therefore, can demonstrate at grade level, the content, concepts, and skills outlined in the Colorado Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, and Communicating as the progress in grades 4 thru 12. 


Important News, Announcements, and Updates

The Science of Reading Literacy Series

The Elementary Literacy and School Readiness (ELSR) office at CDE is developing a series of turnkey professional development options for districts to use to support implementation of evidence-based practices in the Science of Reading. The Science of Reading Literacy Series will begin with a focus on six instructional routines that address each of the components of literacy and oral language. Educators and leaders can access the series by clicking on this link


CDE Release of the Colorado Framework for Writing Instruction

The Colorado Framework for Writing Instruction is intended to support district- and school-level leaders in facilitating conversations with their literacy leaders, instructional coaches, and teachers to develop a research-based framework toward the teaching of writing. The framework begins with a lean toward examining the beliefs around writing, in general, and teaching writing, in particular. Because of the complexity and the unique demands inherent in the teaching of writing, it is important for district and school leadership to bring to the surface the beliefs that teachers hold. This framework connects these more abstract beliefs to a research base. From there, it offers the elements of a “desired state” of teaching writing: the observable teacher behaviors that demonstrate effective writing instruction and the student behaviors that follow those actions. Finally, the framework connects the instructional practices to the professional development necessary to move districts and schools toward their vision. The framework can be found at  

For More Information, Contact 

Olivia Gillespie, Ed.D

Office of Standards and Instructional Support 

Phone: 720-930-1298 


On-Demand Professional Development Opportunities

The Office of Standards and Instructional Support has compiled several on-demand learning opportunities for educators. Visit the on-demand library on the CDE website


Contact Information

Olivia Gillespie, Ed.D
Reading, Writing, and Communicating Content Specialist