Wisconsin Governor Signs ‘Right to Read Act’ Changing How Reading is Taught
How reading will be taught in the state of Wisconsin is set to undergo a significant transformation, as Governor Tony Evers recently signed a new bill known as the ‘Right to Read Act.’ This legislation is scheduled to take effect during the 2024-2025 school year.
A Phonics-Based System Replacing ‘Balanced Literacy’
The primary aim of the bill is to introduce a phonics-based system for teaching elementary students to read, in place of the previously employed ‘balanced literacy’ approach. The bill seeks to enhance reading proficiency among students at an early age.
Improved Reading Performance Expected
According to data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only about 33% of fourth-grade students in Wisconsin scored ‘at or above proficient’ levels in reading. This figure represents a decline of approximately 3% since the previous report in 2019. The implementation of the new bill aims to reverse this trend and boost reading outcomes in the state.
“Anytime you make a change like this, there’s going to be concern and whatever, but I signed it because I thought it was the best alternative going forward,” said Governor Evers.
Increased Reading Assessment Measures
Under the new legislation, students in kindergarten through third grade will be required to undergo three reading screening tests throughout the school year. This is an increase from the previous requirement of just one test. Students who fail to achieve a target score will be placed on a personalized reading plan.
Bipartisan Effort to Improve Literacy
The ‘Right to Read Act’ is a bill led by Republicans, and Governor Evers has shown his support by approving a $50 million funding request from Republicans to enhance literacy funding in the state budget.
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