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IREAD results show little improvement, students struggle to meet milestones

I-Read results show little improvement

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Newly released IREAD scores shows reading rates have remained flat, with one out of every five third graders struggling to meet milestones.

The Indiana Department of Education says they’ve been seeing a downturn in progress since before the pandemic, but education advocates say the pandemic definitely had an impact. Tutoring funding available through the state and local support may help change course.

Reading is fundamental to nearly everything we do, and Lacrisha Hollins with Indy Learning Team says it should also be fun. That’s a big part of the work she does as youth program director at the MLK Center.

“We try to make literacy not a chore, but fun, engaging, and motivating.”

The MLK Center and Indy Learning Team supports young readers all year long. They say 99% of the students who come read below grade level. By the end of two years, they can get back on track.

“To facilitate reading is a little easier sometimes than parents think, but if you think about your environmental print, when you ride down the street, you see a McDonald’s sign or you see a Papa John’s. That’s the beginning stages of literacy,” said Hollins.

The Indiana Department of Education results show IREAD rates have stayed the same for the last few years, but the pandemic is also a factor in delayed achievement for young readers, particularly those who should be reading on a third grade level. In the last year, they’ve rolled out series of support options for tutoring services, and upping teaching standards.

“It’s concerning that these results are still going down or staying flat for students across the state,” said Kateri Whitley, senior director of communications with the Mind Trust.

The Mind Trust is an education advocacy agency that works closely with charter school and other education initiatives. The Mind Trust says the state average shows an 80% passing rate, with IPS schools falling nearly 20 points lower.

“Some simple skills, especially for early learning those early grades, kindergarten, third grade reading to your student,” said Whitley. “Every day is very important. Reading to them is a really good way to set those foundational skills.”

Work to make up for the deficit needs to ramp up.

“I think literacy is fun. I think if we are excited about teaching literacy and they’ll be excited about learning,” said Hollins.