State superintendent warns public schools about thousands of third grade students possibly being held back

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:10 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey is warning public schools that thousands of children may be held back under the Alabama Literacy Act.

Third graders will have to meet the required reading scores to move onto the next grade level this year. Dr. Mackey said summer reading programs can be very beneficial, and those are offered at many school systems and public libraries in Shelby County.

“This is real, that at the end of this year, thousands of students are in jeopardy of not hitting the cut score,” Dr. Mackey said.

Local libraries like the North Shelby Library offer two year-round programs that target the Literacy Act age group according to Kate Etheredge, who is the North Shelby Library Director.

“Reimagining school readiness, it’s a program through the Alabama public library service that offers kits to parents that have several books and activities tied to those books,” Etheredge said.

The other program is called ‘read your way through pre-k’ where parents read 1,000 books to their child before they start school.

“They are learning parts of a book, they are learning how books work, and how reading works, and they are getting excited because other people are reading to them,” Etheredge said.

These programs are designed to help prevent students from being held back.

“These programs are coming out of that desire to make sure our kids know how to read and are successful in school,” Etheredge said.

Parents, if you want to learn more, drop by the North Shelby library to participate.

The Shelby County school district tells me they have reading coaches, interventionists, diagnostic programs for students struggling in specific areas, and summer enrichment camps for students.

Shelby County schools say all of their programs are to prepare them to take the ACAP state assessment in the spring.

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