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A Gary Literacy Coalition volunteer reads to young learners in a Gary Community School Corporation classroom.

Nearly 20% of Indiana's third graders still struggling to read

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IREAD results show about half of Gary's third graders not on grade level

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) released results from the 2022-2023 Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination (IREAD-3) assessment, which show that too few Indiana students have mastered foundational reading skills by the end of third grade: nearly one in five students are still struggling to read at this milestone.

“Up until the end of third grade, students are developing key skills to become proficient in foundational reading. Once they advance to fourth grade they must be able to apply those skills to access future learning,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Today, nearly one in five Indiana students is unable to read by the end of third grade. This is a crisis that could have a long-term negative impact on Indiana’s economy and negative repercussions throughout our society.

Statewide, results show that more than 65,000 Indiana’s third grade students – or 81.9% – demonstrated proficient reading skills on the assessment.

In total, nearly 15,000 third grade students – or 18.1% – will need additional support to meet grade-level reading standards.

Results below show how Gary’s third grade students fared on IREAD.

IREAD Results for Gary school districtsNumberNumberPercentage
9545-21st Century Charter Sch of Gary6210260.8%
8806-Ambassador Christian Academy151978.9%
9685-Aspire Charter Academy567376.7%
9310-Charter School of the Dunes367448.6%
4690-Gary Comm School Corporation18639447.2%
9535-Gary Lighthouse Charter School337047.1%
9980-Steel City Academy132065.0%
9460-Thea Bowman Lead Acad414689.1%

In Gary, 798 third grade students took the IREAD test; 442 passed. With a fail number of 356, that means nearly half of Gary’s third graders can’t read.

Thea Bowman’s 89.1% led the way in Gary, surpassing the state’s 81.9% ceiling followed by the Ambassador and Aspire districts, which were just shy of the state’s number.

Secretary Jenner said Indiana’s third grade reading results have been declining for over a decade, since the highest-ever proficiency rate of 91.4% was reached in the 2012-2013 school year.

Seeking solutions, the Dept. of Education is in the second year of letting 2nd graders take the IREAD test to identify students as early as possible who are on track to pass IREAD in the third grade and students who might need additional help to pass it in the third grade.

Another solution targets elementary teachers in grades K-2, providing them with instructional coaching and support aligned with the science of reading.

The department is offering $60 million in new state-funded Science of Reading Grants to schools and Early Literacy Achievement Grants to teachers.

Educators can earn a $1,200 stipend by completing science of reading modules for K-3, English language and special education teachers through the online Indiana Learning Lab.

Up to $185 million in state-funded grants is being offered to schools and community partners to support accelerated learning for students through summer and before-, after- school programming.

IREAD -3 results for 2023 can be accessed on the Indiana Dept. of Education website, to download and view on your computer

Story Posted:08/20/2023

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