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Mandatory Summer Reading Program For LA Students Not Reading At Grade Level


LA LITERACY CONCERNS - According to the most recent reports from the Louisiana Department of Education, there have been some small signs of academic recovery among students K-12 in areas like English, Math, Social Studies, and Science albeit in single digits percentage-wise. But when it comes to reading less than half of Louisiana students in kindergarten through third grade are reading on grade level, which experts say all but guarantees major problems throughout their school careers.

As of 2020, only 40.4% of kindergarten students were reading at grade level; 42.3% of first graders; 48.4% of second graders; and 49.5% of third graders. These findings underscore a long-standing literacy problem that places Louisiana as trailing most of the nation when it comes to education achievement. Appearing before the Baton Rouge Press Club yesterday state School Superintendent Cade Brumley had this to say:

“For too long we’ve taken literacy for granted in our state and just assumed that children would learn how to read and too few of them have. And we have to do something about and we are doing something about it,” Brumley said.

Louisiana Department of Education Superintendent Cade Brumley spoke before the Baton Rouge Press Club 09.26.22.
Courtesy: LPB
Louisiana Department of Education Superintendent Cade Brumley spoke before the Baton Rouge Press Club 09.26.22.

So The Louisiana Department of Education is proposing a plan to require students between kindergarten and 4th grade who are not reading at grade level by year’s end to attend a summer school reading program. The program will include an additional 30 hours of learning before the students can advance to the next grade. Brumley says other states such as Mississippi has taken similar measures and has grown their literacy rates over the past decade and said the Louisiana program would be temporary.

“It would be effective for this upcoming summer and the year after which targets the pandemic impacted children but it also falls in line with the availability of federal stimulus dollars that are supposed to be used for efforts such as this. So we try to be thoughtful around that,” Brumley explained.

Brumley added that he hears from business leaders and higher-educators that too often they feel Louisiana high school graduates aren’t adequately equipped to succeed at college or better-paying jobs.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.