Third Grade Reading

Michigan’s law requiring third-graders to repeat the year if they score too low on a state reading test ends in 2024.

What is this law about?

In 2015-16, less than half of Michigan third graders got a passing score (called proficient) on the reading portion of M-Step. To help more students be proficient by the end of third grade, the “Read by Grade Three” law requires extra support for K-3 students who are not reading at grade level. Every district now has an early literacy coach.

The original law also stated that a child may be held back if they are behind in reading at the end of third grade. Under a 2023 amendment of the law that  goes into effect for the 2024 school year, students will not be held back if they receive a low score. Instead, their parent will be provided information about intervention options. The student will receive reading intervention until they no longer have a reading deficiency.

What do I need to know as a parent?

Every child’s reading progress will be closely monitored beginning in kindergarten.

If a child is not reading at grade level, an Individual Reading Improvement Plan (IRIP) will be developed by the teacher. This plan includes:

  • Extra instruction or support in areas of need.
  • Ongoing checks on reading progress.
  • A Read-at-Home plan that encourages the child to read and write outside of the school day.
  • May be encouraged to participate in summer reading programs.

These extra supports in a child’s reading improvement plan are an addition to what is already happening in the classroom. These supports will occur in small groups during the school day. Students will not miss regular reading instruction.

What about students with IEPs?

An IEP and the IRIP are not the same and can’t be interchanged. The IEP should not reference an IRIP, however, for students with significant cognitive impairments, the IRIP may reference appropriate reading supports, communication and language goals, that are specified in student’s IEP. An IRIP has to address interventions that are available to all students with a reading deficiency who may or may not have an IEP. The IRIP cannot substitute services of an IEP, but provides additional support to improve reading proficiency.

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