- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A bipartisan Michigan workgroup unveiled recommendations Wednesday for helping the state’s children read at grade level by third grade.

The report’s release coincides with the state Legislature taking the final steps toward approving an education budget that includes $30 million for early literacy efforts.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said evidence shows students who can’t read at grade level by third grade are at a disadvantage in their education and in future opportunities.

He listed the reading initiative as a priority in his State of the State address in January, and in March he created the workgroup that includes members of the administration along with Democrats and Republicans from the House and Senate.

Workgroup Chairman John Kennedy, a business owner, said a skilled workforce for the state begins with early literacy.

“The data shows that clearly the students who can read well will have a strong foundation for future success,” he said.

The report’s recommendations include increasing the amount of classroom time spent on reading comprehension, ensuring teachers are trained to assess students’ reading proficiency and engaging parents in developing their children’s literacy skills. The report also suggests giving more time to help students in kindergarten through third grade catch up if they are behind grade level.

Data that tracks student progress across the state would be compiled in an annual report.

The recommendations were praised by the nonprofit Great Lakes Education Project.

“This report outlines a comprehensive and balanced approach to improving early reading proficiency and recommends an appropriate combination of screening, tutoring, mentoring and intervention in order to get the right interventions to the right students at the right time,” said Great Lakes Education Project Executive Director Gary Naeyaert.

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Online:

Read the workgroup’s report: http://1.usa.gov/1M57mIM

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