Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler wants to make sure every child is reading at grade level before leaving third grade, and end the practice of “social promotion” if they are not.
Peeler today introduced the “Read to Succeed” program, modeled after a successful initiative implemented first by Governor Jeb Bush in Florida in 2001. South Carolina’s program, cosponsored by Senators John Courson, Wes Hayes, and Mike Fair, would:
- Have a readiness screening done on children in 4k and 5k to identify potential learning barriers
- Provide intensive in-class and supplemental reading instruction, including summer reading camps
- Revise in-service requirements so that teachers and soon-to-be-teachers will know how to teach reading skills
- Beginning in 2015-2016 school year, if a 3rd grader cannot read on level, they would be retained.
Believing that prevention is more effective that remediation, the bill calls for taking a portion of the $6 million earmarked for reading improvement under the EIA for the program.
“Reading is the foundation of all academic success. When is comes to education, when you hear the term ‘reading, writing and arithmetic,’ there is a reason ‘reading’ comes first,” Peeler said. “While there have been improvements, South Carolina continues to lag behind on early childhood reading. I believe this bill will be a step toward fixing that.”