Third-Grade Reading Policy Already In Place In Gallia County

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A bill recently signed by Gov. John Kasich will force third graders to be held back if they do not meet certain reading standards.

Superintendent Charla Evans of Gallia County Local Schools says the third-grade reading guarantee policy has been in place for more than 10 years in her district.

"We believe that it’s critical that children have the strategies in hand they need to be able to read and comprehend by the end of third grade," Evans said. "Every child is an individual. We don’t make blanket statements about what a child can do based on every other child, but there has to be a line."

Evans says in her district a third grader who doesn't reach the reading level means meetings with parents, the principal, the teacher and the child to decide what they can do to get that student up to par during the summer between third and fourth grade.

She also says absenteeism contributes greatly to a child’s lack of achievement.

"Parents were children’s first teachers," Evans said. "Parents are absolutely critical; we couldn’t do our job without their support and their involvement."

Teachers also play an important part in this whole process, said Rochelle Halley, Director of Instructional Services at Gallia County Local Schools.

"Teachers have to do discrepant instruction, one-on-one instruction, small group instruction," Halley said. "Without their hard work, in combination with the hard work with the students and the parents, raising these reading levels would not be possible."

Halley says for students who take after-school and summer classes to improve their reading level, the school system offers fun activities to supplement the regular academic activities.

"I don’t think that children lack confidence when they don’t achieve; they lack confidence when they struggle and no one helps them," Evans said. "And we’re not going to let that happen."