Wisconsin is facing a literacy crisis, and our schools need help improving literacy rates. Standardized test scores in Wisconsin show that 64% of fourth-graders are not proficient in reading. Studies have shown that children who don’t learn to read struggle later in life and are more likely to end up in prison or on welfare. This week the legislature made concrete steps towards addressing the reading crisis throughout the state of Wisconsin, passing Assembly Bill 321, the Right to Read Act.
The Right to Read Act establishes an Office of Literacy which will oversee up to 64 reading specialists who provide science-based early literacy instruction and practices to teachers about effective ways to teach reading. These specialists will also provide assessments and reading plans to four-year-old kindergarten to third-grade students who are identified as being at risk of falling behind in reading. By having specialists dedicated to literacy, we can improve reading proficiency without requiring teachers to sacrifice the time they spend teaching other topics in school.
This program will help spot reading problems sooner, and ultimately help parents and teachers get students back on track to achieving literacy and academic success.