Chris Schulz Published

Legislators Learn Challenges For Teachers With The Third Grade Success Act

A stack of books on a table with two opened and their pages fanned out.Abhi Sharma/Flickr

Legislators learned that it may take teachers years to be fully prepared for the implementation of the state’s new early childhood literacy requirements. 

With House Bill 3035 and the Third Grade Success Act set to become law next month, the Joint Standing Committee on Education heard a presentation on the science of reading during interim meetings at Marshall University Monday.

Toni Backstrom, strategic state solutions manager at Lexia Learning, explained to the lawmakers that their goal of increasing reading proficiency is possible, but it will take a lot of work and specifically support for teachers.

“Research and science show us that 95 percent of students can learn,” she said. “I don’t say that lightly. A number of our students will struggle, they will need additional support and intervention. But if our teachers have the expertise, they can meet every one of those students where they are when they step into the room and get them on that trajectory to success.”

Senate Education Committee Chair Sen. Amy Grady, R-Mason, who is a teacher, said teacher training and professional development will likely take years.  

“Our teachers are so used to professional development being a one day thing. We have an eight hour day and schedule the kids are off and we have professional development that day and it ends that day,” Grady said. “For this to be expanded, I think that’s going to be our challenge, is the mindset of ‘Okay, it’s not something I’m learning in one day. It’s something that I am using and continuing to learn over the course of a few years and even still doing it after that as well.’”