Teaching children reading skills

During the 2023 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1558, which defined the Science of Reading and offered support for students experiencing challenges when learning to read. The General Assembly also provided $60 million in funding for reading initiatives.

This year, Senate Republicans are continuing to help improve reading skills among the state's students with Senate Bill 1, which aims to identify and help struggling readers as soon as possible.

According to recent IREAD assessments, 1 in 5 Hoosier children end the third grade without basic reading skills.

Senate Bill 1 would require schools to provide kindergarten through eighth grade reading curriculum instruction aligned with Science of Reading.

Under the bill, students would start taking the IREAD test in second grade. If they pass it that year, they would not need to take it again. However, if a student fails the test during their second grade year, they would take it at least once in third grade.

A student who fails IREAD in second grade would then be given targeted support to help them improve over the next year.

If a student fails IREAD during the first round of testing during their third grade year, they would be given additional remediation support and have to take the test again later that year.

After a full year of remediation and three chances to pass IREAD, students may be retained. However, retention is a last resort, and there are some exemptions that would allow a child to be promoted to the fourth grade.

Overall, we believe it is far worse to pass a child along in school when they can't read than to retain a student in order to ensure they can be successful as they move along in their education.

On Feb. 1, I voted in favor of Senate Bill 1, which passed out of the Senate. It now heads to the Indiana House of Representatives for further consideration.

As always, feel free to contact my office directly with your questions and concerns by email at [email protected] or by phone at 800-382-9467.