Iowa First Graders Under Scrutiny

Dec 30, 2014

Schools around the state are keeping a close eye on first graders’ reading skills.

It’s part of a new state law to make sure all kids can read by third grade.  

 If this year’s first graders  fall short by grade three, schools will be required to either hold them back, or provide intensive remedial help.     Department of Education Director Brad Buck says that means summer school:

“One component of that particular law is if a child is still substantially deficient at the end of third grade,” Buck says, “one of the considerations is a high-quality summer program.”

The DOE is asking for nearly 14 million dollars for the program in the coming year. That covers designing good summer programs, as well as an early warning system so parents know if their kids are struggling.  

“Through that early warning system,” Buck says, “we're letting first grade parents and kindergarten parents know that their child isn't where they ought to be in reading and then we're delivering services to those kids.”

The department is asking for more than three million dollars to cover the early warning system and two million to fully fund the Iowa Reading Research Center.