15-704. Reading proficiency; definitions

A. Each school district or charter school that provides instruction in kindergarten programs and grades one through three shall select and administer screening, ongoing diagnostic and classroom based instructional reading assessments, including a motivational assessment, as defined by the state board of education, to monitor student progress. Each school shall use the diagnostic information to plan appropriate and effective intervention.

B. Each school district or charter school that provides instruction for pupils in kindergarten programs and grades one through three shall conduct a curriculum evaluation and adopt a scientifically based reading curriculum that includes the essential components of reading instruction. All school districts and charter schools that offer instruction in kindergarten programs and grades one through three shall provide ongoing teacher training based on scientifically based reading research.

C. Each school district or charter school that provides instruction in kindergarten programs and grades one through three shall devote reasonable amounts of time to explicit instruction and independent reading in grades one through three.

D. A pupil in grade three who does not meet or exceed the reading standards measured by the Arizona instrument to measure standards test administered pursuant to section 15-741 shall be provided intensive reading instruction as defined by the state board of education until the pupil meets these standards.

E. The governing board of each school district and the governing body of each charter school shall determine the percentage of pupils at each school in grade three who do not meet the reading standards prescribed by the state board of education and measured by the Arizona instrument to measure standards test administered pursuant to section 15-741. If more than twenty percent of students in grade three at either the individual school level or at the school district level do not meet the standards, the governing board or governing body shall conduct a review of its reading program that includes curriculum and professional development in light of current, scientifically based reading research.

F. Based on the review required in subsection E of this section, the governing board or governing body and the school principal of each school that does not meet the reading standards, in conjunction with school council members, if applicable, shall develop methods of best practices for teaching reading based on essential components of reading instruction and supported by scientifically based reading research. These methods shall be adopted at a public meeting and shall be implemented the following academic year.

G. Subsections E and F of this section shall be coordinated with efforts to develop and implement an improvement plan if required pursuant to section 15-241.02.

H. For the purposes of this section:

1. "Essential components of reading instruction" means explicit and systematic instruction in the following:

(a) Phonemic awareness.

(b) Phonics.

(c) Vocabulary development.

(d) Reading fluency.

(e) Reading comprehension.

2. "Reading" means a complex system of deriving meaning from print that requires all of the following:

(a) The skills and knowledge to understand how phonemes or speech sounds are connected to print.

(b) The ability to decode unfamiliar words.

(c) The ability to read fluently.

(d) Sufficient background information and vocabulary to foster reading comprehension.

(e) The development of appropriate active strategies to construct meaning from print.

(f) The development and maintenance of a motivation to read.

3. "Scientifically based reading research" means research that meets all of the following:

(a) Applies rigorous, systematic and objective procedures to obtain valid knowledge relevant to reading development, reading instruction and reading difficulties.

(b) Employs systematic empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment.

(c) Involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn.

(d) Relies on measurements or observational methods that provide valid data across evaluators and observers and across multiple measurements and observations.

(e) Has been accepted by a peer reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective and scientific review.

(f) Contains all of the elements of the essential components of reading instruction.