Read to Achieve

Nearly thirteen percent of North Carolina third-graders were either held back or went on to fourth grade this year labeled retained. That means they get 90 minutes of concentrated reading instruction every day. 

These are the results from the first year of the state’s Read to Achieve program.  

Vice Chairman of the State School Board A.L. “Buddy” Collins said those struggling students will need extra support beyond third and fourth grade.  

Nick de la Canal/WFAE

Third graders in North Carolina who aren’t reading at grade level started summer reading camps this week. It’s part of the new third grade reading law. Last year state officials predicted 60 percent of all third-graders would have to enroll in the camps, but in reality, that number is much lower.

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North Carolina students will find it easier this year to pass the state’s standardized tests.  The state board of education decided yesterday to lower the score it would take to be deemed proficient. That means thousands of third-graders will no longer have to attend summer reading camps mandated by the new reading law.

WFAE’s Lisa Miller joins Morning Edition host Kevin Kniestedt in the studio. 

KK: Lisa, why did the state board decide to do this now?

The North Carolina Board of Education will vote today on a measure that could ease some of the testing going on under the new third grade reading law. That law requires third-graders not reading at grade level by the end of the year to go to summer reading camps. So far, it’s been rough. Teachers, even lawmakers who voted for the law, admit it needs tweaking. 

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools expects to have 5,000 third-graders qualify for reading camps this summer as a result of the state's new third grade reading requirement. District officials worry state money won't come close to covering the cost of these camps.  They’re asking the state for flexibility on the camps, as well as all the tests that come with the new third grade reading law. 

Lisa Worf / WFAE News

North Carolina third-graders have a big year ahead of them. This is the first year by law third-graders will be held back, if they aren’t reading at grade level.  But it’s not so cut and dry. 

WFAE’s education reporter Lisa Miller joins me now to explain how this will actually work: