Every March, educators, elected officials and communities celebrate National Reading Month. The goal is to encourage reading every day across generations. Unfortunately in Michigan, we don’t have a lot to celebrate. Reading every day is critical – but when students don’t get the support they need to excel how can they begin to meet this goal? This March, let’s commit to doing the right thing for our students and supporting initiatives like the “Read by Grade Three” law that’s under threat of being gutted by politicians in Lansing.
Reading has a number of benefits, including expanding kids’ vocabulary, building social and communications skills, and increasing self-confidence. But beyond that, learning to read is critical for long-term learning and economic success. But we just can’t seem to get traction in Michigan.
In 2022, Michigan’s fourth grade reading scores recorded a 30-year low landing us in 40th place in state rankings. This should outreach everyone. We are failing kids by not ensuring they are learning the fundamentals, and not providing the interventions and support needed.
Right now, the Michigan legislature is moving to strip key pieces of the “Read by Grade Three” law, avoiding key parental engagement and just passing kids on to the next grade kids who aren’t able to read to learn. Who does that help? Surely not the students, who will continue to fall further and further behind, unable to learn the lessons that will set them up for success in the future.
We can’t keep making policy that ignores kids in favor of little accountability for teachers and administrators. Michigan kids deserve and need more.
Contact your local legislator and tell them to advocate for Michigan’s little learners.