By the third grade, students must make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. A strong reading program, beginning in kindergarten and continuing into the third grade and beyond, gives your child the best possible chance to maximize his or her education.

If your child still needs time to master reading, he or she must have every opportunity to strengthen and gain this skill before entering fourth grade—to better ensure a successful future.

Beginning in fourth grade and beyond, your child must be prepared to read to learn across all subject areas.

Early this year, Florida leaders created a Reading Scholarship Account Program for students in grade 3-5 who are struggling readers.

The program, which is the first of its kind in the country, allows participating families to be reimbursed up to $500 for expenses related to reading instruction/tutoring in addition to what they receive in public school.

The program is expected to serve more than 19,000 students. Visit Step Up for Students to learn more about the program and to be notified when applications become available.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Florida’s K-3 Reading Policy

Question: How are struggling readers helped by Florida’s K-3 reading policy?
Answer: The school must develop individual progress plans for any K-3 student with a reading deficiency, and provide intensive literacy instruction that is different from what the child has already received. This intensive instruction must be provided to all K-3 students at risk of retention as identified by the district or statewide assessment system.

Question: If my child does poorly on the Florida Standards Assessment, will they have to repeat third grade?
Answer: No child is retained because of one test, on one day. Retaining a student for an additional year of third grade is the last resort if the student is reading significantly below grade level.

At the end of third grade students are given multiple ways to demonstrate sufficient reading skills for promotion to fourth grade, including the statewide assessment, an alternative standardized assessment, and a test-based student reading portfolio.

Question: Will I know before the end of my child’s third grade year if he/she is not ready to be promoted.
Answer: Florida’s K-3 Reading program identifies students who are struggling to read as early as Kindergarten, with frequent literacy screenings and parent notification/updates on progress over multiple school years.

Students are given individual reading plans, home reading strategies and reading interventions before/during/after school and progress is monitored and shared at frequent intervals. Only those students who still demonstrate a need for the additional time to learn to read are retained in third grade.

Question: What happens if my child is retained?

Answer: If your child is retained, the school must provide intensive interventions using effective instructional strategies to improve his or her specific reading deficiency.

The school district is required to:

  • Provide summer reading camps.
  • Provide a minimum of 90 minutes of daily, uninterrupted, scientifically research-based reading instruction.
  • Provide students with a highly-effective teacher as determined by student performance data and performance evaluations.
  • Provide written notification to the parent that his/her child has not met promotion requirements, and the reasons the child is not eligible for a good cause exemption. The notification must also describe the proposed interventions that will be provided.
  • Implement a policy for the midyear promotion for any student who can demonstrate mastery of third grade skills and ready to be promoted to fourth grade.