Report: Michigan third graders among worst readers in U.S.

Posted at 6:28 AM, Mar 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-13 07:18:38-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A new report claims third​ graders here in Michigan are struggling when it comes to reading, even though the state has invested nearly $80 million  over the last three years in early literacy.

Teachers including some here in West Michigan are now working on ways to help students improve their reading skills.

"We have readers coming in from Salvation Army coming in for K through 3. We have book competitions on every door right now. Just cool and teacher and kid created book covers. We have readers coming in all month. Reading is a focus. And I am sure that is happening throughout the city and the state. We are all trying to improves our scores, we really are," said Joann Riemersma, the principal of Stocking Elementary School in Grand Rapids.

The report by Education Trust-Midwest hows Michigan is only one of five states across the U.S. dealing with a decline in reading proficiency.

Just last year, more than 50 percent of third graders did not pass the reading portion of the M-STEP test, despite the state investing thousands of dollars to pay teachers for more instructional time and the hiring of literacy coaches.

"It is important work, and it`s the right work for us to be doing at this time," Riemersma said.

It's not a good sign for parents whose students could be held back starting next year if they're not reading at third grade level.

You'll remember Governor Snyder signed the new reading law in 2016 making Michigan the 37th state to adopt the law which goes into effect next year.

The law will require students to meet the state requirements in order to go on to fourth grade and require school districts to test students' reading proficiency three times a year.

Some schools here in West Michigan who are working to get students on track including at Stocking Elementary School in Grand Rapids.​