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Issue Background

Third Grade Reading

The West Michigan Talent Triangle will work in a collaborative fashion to improve third grade reading achievement.

Up until third grade students “learn to read.” After that, students are expected to “read to learn.” If they’re behind they will likely struggle the rest of their educational career. West Michigan Talent Triangle school districts began an initiative in 2014 called the Reading Now Network, which looks at the schools “beating the odds” in third grade reading to replicate their success in other schools. We have taken what we have learned and advocated that those “best practices” are included in legislation making its way through legislature.

What’s next? Legislators should focus their efforts on passing legislation that mirrors the findings of the Reading Now Network. In addition, we know it takes more resources to educate a child in poverty but we still have an at-risk appropriation that falls short of being fully funded by $90 million.

Finally, Michigan schools need stability in its testing system so teachers can become familiar with the targets they’re expected to hit and receive test results in time to adjust instruction for the students who took the test – not those who will enter their class the following year.