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 evidence-based appropriate and effective instruction and 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 an evidence-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 evidence-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 evidence-based instruction and independent reading in grades one through three.

D. A pupil in grade three who does not demonstrate proficiency on the reading standards measured by the statewide assessment administered pursuant to section 15-741 shall be provided core reading instruction and intensive, evidence-based 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 demonstrate proficiency on the reading standards prescribed by the state board of education and measured by the statewide assessment 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 demonstrate proficiency on 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, evidence-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 demonstrate proficiency on 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 evidence-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) Phonological awareness, including phonemic awareness.

(b) Phonics encoding and decoding.

(c) Vocabulary development.

(d) Reading fluency as demonstrated by automatic reading of text.

(e) Reading comprehension of written text.

(f) Written and oral expression, including spelling and handwriting.

2. "Evidence-based reading research" means research that demonstrates either:

(a) A statistically significant effect on improving student outcomes or other relevant outcomes based on either:

(i) Strong evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study.

(ii) Moderate evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental study.

(iii) Promising evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias.

(b) A rationale based on high-quality research findings or positive evaluation that an activity, strategy or intervention is likely to improve student outcomes or other relevant outcomes and that includes ongoing efforts to examine the effects of these activities, strategies or interventions.

3. "Reading" means a complex system of deriving meaning from written text that requires all of the following:

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

(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 written text.

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