Third Grade Reading Mandate in Effect This Year

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Jackson, Miss.
Thousands of Mississippi parents could get a letter at the end of this school year notifying them their third graders have failed because they don't read well enough.

The Mississippi Legislature mandated all third graders read at a basic level by this year or be flunked. Using 2012 test data, about 5,000 of Mississippi's 37,000 third graders would have failed.

The state Board of Education could approve the letter Friday, but officials also are trying to cut the number of failing students.

Numbers discussed Thursday show state help is reaching only a fraction of the state's hundreds of elementary schools.

State education officials hired 41 reading coaches and coordinators this year, again short of the goal of 75.

Lawmakers allotted $15 million for the program, up from $8 million last year.