Lack of Prevention & Effective Intervention Severely Impacts Vulnerable Students
Massachusetts, New Jersey, Arkansas, Ohio and Texas (to name only a few) require that predictive skills for reading be screened in order catch kids early no matter their family income, race, culture, disability or zip code.
Maryland PARCC data from 2018 shows 75% of fourth grade students living in poverty were below grade level in reading and 72% of African American students were below grade level. Poverty, race and disability status do not prevent students from learning to read: poorly chosen curricula, lack of reading screening, poorly designed and targeted professional development, insufficient and inadequate educator preparation programs & lack of knowledge about the science of reading contribute to poor reading outcomes for vulnerable populations.
"Research indicates that student demographic characteristics are related to the probability of needing remedial coursework in college. In a nationally representative sample, African American students were more likely to take remedial coursework when compared to White students, even after controlling for academic preparation, family socio-economic status (SES), and type of high school and college attended (Attewell et al., 2006)." Link to report, MD Longitudinal Data System
Reading Screening: Part of the Solution to Close Gaps
Amended Version, Senate Bill 734
Maryland's Career and College Readiness Reading Standards require that all students, beginning in pre-kindergarten, learn foundational reading skills including phonological and phonemic awareness and phonics. Maryland's poor outcomes for reading tell us that we must do better and provide an early warning system for students who may struggle.
SB 734, the Ready to Read Act, is Maryland's opportunity to address reading failure, and the downstream outcomes and costs, before they develop and before they become chronic. Research shows that students whose reading instruction needs are not addressed early, do not catch up.
"Using measures currently available, we can accurately determine which students are likely to struggle with reading starting in preschool or kindergarten ”
“In fourth grade, students need 2 hours of instructional time to make the same gains as made in 30 minutes of instructional time in Kindergarten.”
Dr. Joseph Torgesen, Florida Center for Reading Research, 2010
Why We Must Screen Students for Reading Difficulties
SB 734 enables districts to accurately and consistently apply screening measures to determine which students may struggle to read. This is done by measuring students' pre-and-early literacy skills that evidence shows are predictive of future reading success.
When school districts wait until a student shows indicators of difficulty, this creates a paradox: reading skills are best developed and addressed in PK, K and 1 -- by waiting for a student to fail to respond to instruction and/or intervention schools are delaying help. This is the current practice and is not working.
Senate Amendments to SB 734
The Senate amendments scale back screening to include Kindergarten students only.
Summary of Senate Amendments: Amended Version of Ready To Read, SB 734
DEFINITIONS, (Section A):
SCREENING FREQUENCY: Section D(1)
Student shall be screened according to the schedule established by the county board;
SUPPLEMENTAL READING INSTRUCTION. Section (D)(2): If the screening results indicate that a student is at risk of reading difficulties, the county board shall provide supplemental reading instruction in the students’ areas of need.
LINK to the Senate Recording (jump to 33:41) or Listen to the Excerpt of the floor session on SB 734 on DDMD's YouTube Channel
- Click play below to listen to the except of the floor session debate from 3.14. We’ve excerpted the section of interest for your connivence and included the original link to the officially recorded Senate floor sessions. Official Senate audio recording of the proceedings on March 14 on Ready to Read.
How Much Does it Really Cost to Screen Students in Pk, K and 1?
The chart below was prepared by the Coalition to Support the Ready to Read Act and includes the number of students in each county in PK, K and 1 in each school district. Using costs from other states and the actual cost of screening instruments in two price ranges, the table below reflects that an urban district like Baltimore City would pay no more than $133,240 annually even if they purchased the more expensive screening instrument(s).
It would cost an estimated $1.3 million annually to screen every single child in the state. Special education interventions for students who don't learn to read by the end of first grade are much more costly due to more time and intensity needed to help a student learn to read.
What are the Skills that Predict Future Reading Success?
"These six variables not only correlated with later literacy as shown by data drawn from multiple studies with large numbers of children but also maintained their predictive power even when the role of other variables, such as IQ or socioeconomic status (SES), were accounted for.
These six variables include
- alphabet knowledge (AK): knowledge of the names and sounds associated with printed letters
- phonological awareness (PA): the ability to detect, manipulate, or analyze the auditory aspects of spoken language (including the ability to distinguish or segment words, syllables, or phonemes), independent of meaning
- rapid automatic naming (RAN) of letters or digits: the ability to rapidly name a sequence of random letters or digits
- RAN of objects or colors: the ability to rapidly name a sequence of repeating random sets of pictures of objects (e.g., “car,” “tree,” “house,” “man”) or colors
- writing or writing name: the ability to write letters in isolation on request or to write one’s own name
- phonological memory: the ability to remember spoken information for a short period of time."
Are the Predictive Skills Considered "Screening Instruments"?
When Should Students be Screened?
The Senate amendments limit early screening Kindergarten students -- this is not a best practice or recommended by the experts. Reading skills are developed over time and at each developmental level (measured by grade) a student develops new skills. The majority of those skills are developed in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade where the bill is targeted. Skills continue to develop through fifth grade. Maryland state standards stop teaching foundational reading skills in third grade where students are expected to apply what they know.
FROM THE NATIONAL CENTER ON RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION:
Reading Screening Measures must be Brief, Cost Effective, Valid, Reliable, Predictive
Are Any Maryland School Districts Screening?
Pockets of Promise
National Center on Improving Literacy, Maryland Beacon Site
No Statutory Protections for Dyslexia
What Do the Experts Say About Reading Screening?
- National Center on Response to Intervention, Screening Briefs
- Maryland College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Foundational Reading, PK, K and Grade 1
- National Center on Response to Intervention: Essential Components of Response to Intervention
- National Center on Intensive Intervention, Reading Screening Tools Chart
- National Center on Improving Literacy, White Paper on Reading Screening & Dyslexia
- American Institute for Research, Screening Tool Kit
- Doing What Works: Conducting Early Reading Screening, WestEd
- How do We Select An Effective Screening Tool?
- The National Reading Panel, Teaching Children to Read, 2000
- How We Learn to Read: The Key Role of Phonological Awareness, National Center on Improving Literacy
- The Alphabetic Principle: From Phonological Awareness to Reading Words
- Learning Together About Universal Screening, Dr. Don Compton, Vanderbilt University
- Foundational Skills to Support Reading in Grades K-3, Institute for Education Sciences Practice Guide, 2013
- Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel
- Research Recommendations for Dyslexia Screening & Requirements in Southern Region Education Board States (MD is a member state and is the only state without any protections or requirements for students with dyslexia and the only state that does not have an early screening requirement).
- Reading and Dyslexia Screening Components in SREB States
- We have a National Reading Crisis, EdWeek, March 2019
- What Key Literacy Skills Need to be Developed in Children? National Center on Improving Literacy, Briefs
- Maryland Hub for Data Informed Practices, Office of Leadership Development and School Improvement
Ready to Read Act, Resources
Who Supports the Ready to Read bills?
Montgomery County Board of Education
Education Advocacy Coalition (EAC)
Prince George’s County Board of Education
Maryland Psychological Association (MPA)
MD Speech-Language Hearing Association
Maryland School Psychologists Association (MSPA)
Maryland State Education Association (MSEA)
Maryland Parent-Teacher Association (MD PTA)
Office of Education Accountability, Valerie Radomsky, Governor Larry Hogan
Parent Advocacy Coalition (PAC)
Maryland Education Coalition (MEC)
Advocates for Children and Youth
American Civil Liberties Union of MD
Arts Education in Maryland Schools
Disability Rights Maryland
League of Women Voters of MD
Let Them See Clearly
Maryland Coalition for Community Schools
Maryland Out of School Time Network
Parents Advocacy Consortium
Rick Tyler, Jr.
Right to Read MD
School Social Workers of MD