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Stand Releases Recommendations to Strengthen Early Literacy in Colorado
Calls on State Board and Department of Education to Act Swiftly to Improve Early Literacy
Denver, CO – Stand for Children Colorado (Stand Colorado) released Improving Early Literacy in Colorado: Realizing the Promise of the READ Act, a report that outlines specific recommendations to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education (SBE) on how to improve early literacy in our state and support educators teaching young readers.
Reading by the end of third grade is widely recognized as a critical milestone for future academic success. The report analyzes research and the implementation of policies, statutes, and rules in Colorado related to early literacy. Colorado’s powerful legislation passed in 2012, the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act, introduced innovative policies to support children reading by the end of third grade. The report identifies a few disconnects in the law’s implementation that are impacting students and educators. Despite strong policy and dedicated educators, Colorado students continue to struggle with reading, and far too many are not reading proficiently:
- According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 61% of Colorado students in fourth grade scored below proficient on the NAEP reading assessment in 2015.
- Of Colorado’s Black students, 73% scored below proficient and 80% of Colorado’s Hispanic students scored below proficient on the 2015 reading assessment.
Click here to read perspectives on the report from CDE Commissioner of Education, an educator, higher education leader and Colorado State Board of Education Chair.
The recommendations contained in the report are focused on ways to improve implementation of the READ Act and ultimately ensure our students are set up for academic success as strong readers going into fourth grade:
- The Colorado State Board of Education (SBE) should ensure all teacher preparation programs in Colorado include best practices in literacy instruction (as outlined in the READ Act) for elementary candidates. We recommend the SBE align the regulations governing the content standards for teacher preparation program accreditation and reauthorization. *Note: Stand for Children worked with CDE and the SBE to ensure that final rules, which were adopted at the February SBE meeting, were aligned with the READ Act.
- The SBE and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) should ensure all newly licensed educators in Colorado are prepared with the skills to teach reading according to best practice defined in the READ Act. SBE and CED should require a literacy-specific exam as part of educator licensure.
- The SBE and CDE should enforce the reporting requirements outlined in the READ Act to identify promising practices, monitor expenses. Additionally, SBE and CDE should ensure lowest performing districts are incorporating READ Act practices into their improvement plans.