Tony Thurmond Vows to Get All Students Reading by Third Grade

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a new initiative on Tuesday that seeks to get all third graders in the state reading at grade level by the year 2026.

Details will be worked out by a task force to be comprised of “practitioners, advocates, researchers, foundation partners, thought leaders, students, parents, and other experts,” according to the CDE. Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) will sponsor legislation to advance the task force’s recommendations.

“The legislation, to be formally introduced in 2022, will be informed by recommendations that come out of the task force and could include providing resources for advancing literacy and biliteracy goals through professional learning to teach reading, family engagement strategies, and methods for getting books in the hands of students and their families, just to name a few,” the CDC said. “Superintendent Thurmond anticipates that the legislation will lay out a multifaceted strategy that considers issues of readiness, chronic absenteeism, needs of students with disabilities and multilingual learners, early education, and socio-economic factors that impact a student’s ability to learn to read.”

Task force members will have their work cut out for them. California was struggling to boost literacy rates before the pandemic. In the aftermath of COVID-19, reading fluency among second and third graders has declined significantly, according to PACE

Read more about the new reading initiative here