GENEVA, Ala. (WDHN) — Recently, Alabama lawmakers approved delaying the Alabama Literacy Act until the 2023-2024 school year mainly due to the disruption in instruction due to the pandemic.

The Literacy Act requires third graders to read on grade level before advancing to 4th grade.

“We really see a big difference in student achievement when they are in school with a teacher versus not in school so we really feel like this is more fair to our children and our teachers,” Geneva County Schools Superintendent Becky Birdsong said.

State officials believe if a delay wasn’t approved, 23 percent of third-graders in Alabama would be at risk of getting held back. As for third graders in Geneva County Schools, Birdsong said they would have to hold back less than 10 to 15 third graders.

However, the school system has taken some extra steps to help those third graders who may be struggling to get over the hump.

“We have a reading coach in every elementary school we have small group instruction K- 3 every day with the teacher at the back table working with them,” Birdsong said.

Parents are strongly encouraged to read with their children at home. In addition, Geneva County Schools are offering summer school for half a day at each elementary school.

“Still gives the kids time to play in the summer go on vacations and swim but it prepares them for the next grade,” She said.