Many educators believe that reading by third grade is a vital indicator of future school success. Some even argue that unless children are good readers by third grade, the rest of their schooling will be an uphill struggle. Several states and school districts now require that students who have not mastered basic reading skills by the end of third grade be retained and given remedial instruction. Others argue that students should not be retained unless they have had high quality early education and reading instruction during and before third grade. These policies and practices have renewed a longstanding debate among educators about whether students who cannot read by third grade should be retained and, if so, under what circumstances.
On August 16, the Center on Children and Families at Brookings examined reading and retention policy and practice. The program included the release of a CCF policy brief which summarizes research on the topic, a keynote address by Barbara O’Brien, the former lieutenant governor of Colorado, and scrutiny of the issue by a panel of experts, foundation officials, and representatives of state government.
After the panel discussion, participants took audience questions. You can following the discussion on this event on Twitter using the hashtag #readingbythird.