Read to Succeed
In June 2014, the South Carolina General Assembly passed Act 284 (Read to Succeed), excerpted in Appendix D, as a monumental step toward closing the state’s achievement gap and increasing opportunities for all students in South Carolina. Read to Succeed legislation is ground-breaking for South Carolina because it is comprehensive, systematic, and affects every educator and student in the state through eight components: 1. State, district, and school reading plans; 2. Focus on third grade progression; 3. Summer reading camps; 4. Provision of reading interventions; 5. Requirements for in-service educator endorsements; 6. Early learning and literacy development; 7. Teacher preparation; and 8. Reading coaches.
The goal of Read to Succeed is to ensure all students graduate from high school with the reading and writing skills they need to be ready for college and careers. While South Carolina students have made some progress in reading, the numbers of proficient students are still low compared to other states. Research is clear that students who are not proficient readers by third grade are more likely to struggle academically, greatly reducing their chances of graduating from high school, going to college, or successfully participating in a 21st century high-skill economy. The problem is not an English Language Arts issue alone; students who are struggling readers are less able to access content in all areas of learning, including science and mathematics.
Act 284 ensures that students who are unable to read and comprehend on grade level will be identified as early as possible and be provided with targeted support from all classroom teachers. Read to Succeed requires that all educators have the knowledge and skills they need to assess and address student reading problems effectively. To this end, the law mandates requirements for teacher preparation, coursework for in-service educators, and the establishment of reading coaches in schools. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, educators have 10 years or two SC renewal periods to complete the required coursework or professional development for the Read to Succeed Literacy Teacher endorsement, beginning with their next renewal period.