Third grade marks a critical point in a child's education. It's the time when students shift from learning to read and begin reading to learn.
The research tells us that one in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers. Poverty only compounds the problem. Children who are not reading proficiently at 3rd grade and who have lived in poverty are three times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate than those who have never been poor. (Double Jeopardy, Annie E. Casey Foundation 2011)
To ensure that these youngsters have the opportunity for a bright future, we need to focus our attention and efforts at this critical juncture.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Implementing new Common Core standards
• The new Common Core standards in English language arts create a laser-like focus on the foundational reading, language and writing skills necessary to access content.
• Standards establish a staircase of increasing text complexity; require progressive development of reading comprehension; and offer a balance of literary and informational text.
Providing training to teachers on standards and instructional practices
• By providing the training teachers need and enhancing their instructional practices, South Dakota teachers are better prepared to facilitate the deeper learning required in a 21st century learning experience.
Developing and deploying practical solutions
• Two significant contributors to underachievement in reading include: 1) Chronic absence from school and 2 Summer learning loss
• The Department of Education is focusing its efforts on developing practical solutions to help educators tackle these tough issues.
Expanding assessment tools to monitor student progress
• Formative measurement of student progress allows for immediate and targeted feedback to teachers.
• The Department of Education is building its online assessment portal, so that teachers have access to rich and meaningful assessment items.
• This feedback in turn can be used to create customized learning opportunities for every student that immediately meet his or her needs.
Providing high quality instruction and intervention
• South Dakota’s Response to Intervention, or RtI, focuses on providing high quality instruction and intervention based on a student’s needs. Student progress is closely monitored and the intensity of intervention increased as needed.
For additional information, contact the South Dakota Department of Education
at (605) 773-3134.