SD7 - Strategies to Promote Third Grade Reading Performance in Virginia

Executive Summary:
SJR 31 from the 2010 General Assembly directed JLARC to study ways to promote early reading proficiency and comprehension among third grade students in Virginia.

Student pass rates on the third grade reading Standards of Learning test have increased substantially over the past decade, but fall short of the State’s aspirational goal of a 95 percent statewide pass rate. Socioeconomic factors such as economic status, disability, and race have a considerable impact on pass rates.

Key practices, such as small-group differentiated instruction, provide the foundation for a good classroom reading program, and the vast majority of divisions report already using these practices. Teachers are the critical factor in determining the effectiveness of a classroom reading program and need to be both well trained and well supported. Key supports include literacy coaches, reading specialists, and additional staff to assist in the classroom. Some students may need assistance in addition to the classroom reading program, and Response to Intervention is a recommended strategy for dealing with reading difficulties.

Options for the State and localities to improve early reading performance focus on providing training and support for teachers, supporting effective intervention programs, and maintaining an environment that supports early literacy.