An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency
(H.4243, Filed 2011-2012)

photoOn September 26, 2012, Governor Deval Patrick signed An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency into law, after the Legislature passed it with overwhelming bipartisan support. The Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved the measure on July 11, 2012, and the Massachusetts Senate passed it on a voice vote on July 26, 2012. An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency, filed in January 2011 by Representative Marty Walz (D-Boston) and Senator Katherine Clark (D-Melrose), addresses a critical educational benchmark that is strongly correlated with children’s later success. Although children continue to grow as readers throughout their school years and beyond, by the end of third grade they are expected to have mastered reading grade-level material with fluency and comprehension. Three-quarters of children who struggle with reading in third grade continue to struggle in school, research shows, and they are four times less likely than their peers to finish high school by age 19. Research also demonstrates that the path to success as third grade readers begins at birth, with children’s earliest language development.  

To get involved or learn more, contact Titus DosRemedios at, or 617-330-7387.

An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency would implement several key recommendations in Strategies for Children’s 2010 research report "Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success" [PDF] by Nonie Lesaux, a nationally recognized literacy expert at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It was co-sponsored by almost 60 legislators and supported by representatives of more than 50 of the commonwealth’s leading education and advocacy organizations.

The legislation would establish the Early Literacy Expert Panel to advise the commonwealth’s education departments on statewide strategies to promote language and literacy development in children from birth to third grade. The council would make recommendations for the alignment, coordination, and implementation of five critical areas:

  • Comprehensive curricula anchored in rich content, using a wide variety of texts, emphasizing oral language, and balancing meaning- and code-based skills.
  • Effective instructional practices, including tiered instructional strategies and materials.
  • Professional development and training, both pre-service and in-service, on language and literacy development and the effective use of screening and assessments.
  • Assessment that is comprehensive, developmentally appropriate and used to inform practice and report on children’s progress toward meeting benchmarks in language and literacy development.
  • Family partnership strategies for improving the quality of home-school interactions to support children’s language and literacy development.

For more information:

Read the fact sheet.   |  Read the bill.  |  See the co-sponsors.

Learn more about reading proficiency.  |  Learn more about the research.

Find out about third grade reading proficiency in your community

(Learn about An Act Relative to Early Education and Care.)

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