SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois legislators have passed a bill that requires the State Board of Education to create a new literacy plan to change how reading is taught in public schools.
In 2022, only 3 in 10 students between 3rd and 8th grade were at or exceeded standards in reading, as recorded by the Illinois Assessment of Readiness exam.
Research has shown that students who are not proficient at reading by third grade are more likely to drop out, according to The Center Square.
Groups, like the Early Literacy Coalition, have been pushing the state to create a new curriculum for reading that includes teaching students to read using phonics and the science of reading.
Senate Bill 2243 requires the Illinois State Board of Education to create a comprehensive literacy plan by January 31st, 2024, create a rubric by July 1st, 2024, and develop training opportunities for teachers by January 1st, 2025.
Elementary school teachers who teach 1st through 6th grades will be tested on their literacy before securing a license.
Other states, including Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, and New Mexico have all passed laws teaching evidence-based reading.
The bill now heads to Gov. JB Pritzker to be signed into law.