An early warning system that monitors how well Iowa kids are learning to read in kindergarten through third grade is proving successful, according to the Iowa Reading Research Center.
Director Deborah Reed says teachers assess reading skills three times a year, so they can benchmark progress and identify kids who might be at risk. Those students are given either additional classroom instruction or after-school help, although it isn’t mandatory.
Reed says 70 percent of Iowa students in those grades met or surpassed statewide benchmarks last year. That’s up four percent from the previous school year.
In 2017, Iowa lawmakers eliminated a state-mandated summer reading program for struggling third graders. But Reed notes that intensive summer reading programs are often recommended for children who aren’t proficient by the time they complete third grade. She also points out that studies show students can lose two months of reading skills over the summer.
With the school year winding down, Reed says making reading fun for kids during the summer can include trips to the local library, or bringing books along to the park or the swimming pool.