New Alabama literacy law goes into effect for third graders

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GENEVA, Ala. (WDHN) — Before the Alabama literacy act, in order for third graders to be promoted to the next grade at Geneva County Schools, they must meet certain criteria.

“For us, it’s they must pass the subject of reading and math every year so we didn’t have a one certain one test that defined whether they passed or failed,” Superintendent Becky Birdsong said.

Now, the 2019 approved law will go into effect at the beginning of this upcoming year which states students must be reading on grade level and if they are not proficient they will have to repeat the grade.

“If students are identified to have a deficit in reading we notify their parents and of course want the parents to be involved at home working with them and encouraging them to read and working on the things the teacher sent home,” Birdsong said.

Geneva county schools use the star assessment which screens students three times a year. If they are still not where they need to be, they have many reading sessions or other individualized intervention programs that will target the weaknesses of students whether they are struggling in phonics, comprehension, or fluency to help bring them up to grade level.

Birdsong says this upcoming year could be more challenging due to some elementary students who went virtual last year.

“We’re definitely trying to make up those losses we’ve hired two intervention teachers at each of our elementary schools to specifically address the loss of learning due to covid and the virtual environment,” She said.

Birdsong encourages all parents and families to spend a little time with their children reading, going to the library, and finding fun ways because it will pay off in the long run!

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