Third Grade Reading Law (Public Act 306)
What Is It?
Also known as Public Act 306 of 2016, the Third Grade Reading law was passed by the Michigan legislature in an effort to increase student achievement in the area of literacy. Its intent is to ensure all children are proficient on state reading assessments by the end of third grade.
Who Is Impacted By This Law?
A portion of the law went into effect in the 2017-2018 school year that requires students in grades K-3 who are below grade level in reading to receive an Individualized Reading Improvement Plan.
In Ferndale Schools, we have turned that into an opportunity to partner with families and initialize the students, Soar to Success plan. The plan outlines what the school, teacher, and parent can/will do to support the child’s ongoing reading growth. It shares initial data points from the beginning of the year and brings an opportunity to collaborate together in support of the child.
In addition, districts are required to regularly communicate with families regarding their child’s progress and provide tools to support reading at home.
Beginning in 2019-2020 school year, third grade students will take a standardized state assessment to determine promotion to fourth grade.
What Are Good Cause Exemptions?
The law offers several Good Cause Exemptions as alternatives to retention providing one of the following can be demonstrated:
- Proficiency on an alternative standardized assessment approved by the Superintendent
- Competency is all third grade standards via a student portfolio with multiple work samples
- The student has an IEP or Section 504 plan and the team determines the child should be exempt from the requirements
- The student is an English Language Learner with less than three years of instruction in an ELL program
- The student has received reading intervention for two or more years and was previously retained
- The student has been enrolled in the current district for less than two years and was not previously provided an appropriate reading improvement plan
- The parent/guardian requests an exemption within the 30 day time period and the Superintendent or designee determines the exemption is in the best interests of the student
What Is Ferndale Schools Doing As a Result of This New Law?
Many requirements in the law were occurring in Ferndale Schools prior to its passing. With our strong literacy instruction, intervention, and enrichment time built-in daily, workshop models to provide for differentiation, and a multi-tiered system of support. Both of our elementary campuses have Reading Specialists who support student and staff success.
How Is Ferndale Schools Supporting Students as Readers?
The district believes in a whole child and balanced literacy approach with high-quality instruction to meet the needs of each student. We have a high-quality elementary staff with extensive background in literacy. All K-5 teachers receive ongoing professional development that supports learning best practices. To foster growth in all readers, we will:
- Continue to utilize the Readers and Writers Workshop models with modifications to support all students
- Provide consistent core content instruction across all classrooms and grade levels that builds upon the students’ learning year to year
- Provide Leveled Literacy Intervention services delivered by a Reading Specialist in addition to regular literacy instruction for students who qualify based on reading assessments
- Progress monitor students' growth throughout the year and use results for instructional purposes
- Implement Soar to Success plans for ALL students to have equitable opportunities for all
- Continue to share tips, tools, and techniques to foster an at-home environment that teaches a love of reading
What Can I Do to Support My Child?
- Make sure your child is on time and attends school each day
- Have a well-established bedtime routine that involves reading aloud to your child and provides your child with 10 - 12 hours of sleep each night
- Make reading opportunities fun. Utilize being in the car to listen to audiobooks, read the neighborhood, play lots of rhyming games, and listen to songs that teach reading skills
- Ask your child specific questions about the books you read:
- Tell me about the beginning of the book
- What happened at the end of the story?
- Who was the main character in the story?
- Help connect stories to your child’s life. Make sure the books you read foster a sense of diversity and represent not only your child but the children within our school family
Where do I go if I have questions about how to support my child or to learn more about PA 306?
Please contact your child’s teacher, principal, or the Instruction Office at 248-586-8658.
Our website will continue to provide tips, tools, and links to help foster an at-home love of learning.