Reading is important. I believe it might be the most important thing our children learn in school because children who struggle to read are at risk of falling behind in many subjects.
The decades of brain research that make up the Science of Reading have given us a clear understanding of how we learn to read. While best practices for teaching reading have grown from this, many of our children are not benefiting. The data makes that clear.
In Indiana, only 37% of our students are reading at grade level (down from 41% in 2017). And within that data, there is a problematic racial gap –signifying clear, further inequities:
- 43% of white students are on reading on grade level
- 17% of Black students are proficient
- 24% of Latino students are proficient
Our state law doesn’t define evidence-based reading or require schools to adopt an aligned curriculum. That’s a problem.
It’s a problem because students who are not proficient in reading by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school compared to proficient readers. It’s a problem because, despite decades of research that demonstrates how children can become successful readers, many schools aren’t following this evidence. It’s a problem because the literacy crisis in our state is widening opportunity gaps.
Our teachers and our schools deserve the support and resources to ensure every student can read and our students deserve to be educated with practices that are backed by science.