The Alaska Reads Act is an education law signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy in June of 2022 and is designed to assist young learners in developing strong reading skills, setting them on a path toward success in school and life.
This comprehensive initiative comprises various components to equip educators, families, and communities with the tools to support children's reading development.
Early Screening and Support
One of the cornerstones of the Alaska Reads Act is early identification.
Students in kindergarten through third grade will take the mClass Amplify assessments to determine if they are struggling with reading. Just like how doctors use checkups to keep us healthy, these reading checkups help schools know which kids might need a little extra reading help.
With this early knowledge, teachers and support staff can provide personalized attention. Parents will be notified if there is a concern with their student’s reading performance, and extra support will be provided.
Students far behind in their literacy skills may have the option to repeat a grade. This decision is not taken lightly and will be the result of multiple conversations with families and school staff. Summer literacy programming will also be offered for students.
Quality Reading Instruction
To help kids become strong readers, the Alaska Reads Act ensures that schools have top-notch reading programs and strategies. It's like giving teachers a better toolkit with the best reading strategies.
This means more engaging books, fun reading activities, and lessons that cater to different learning styles.
The district will pilot a new set of reading materials in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade. Through financial support from the state, we have purchased Amplify CKLA for use.
Because no set of materials is perfect, we have begun the work of removing units that may not be the best fit and adding supplemental units and books better reflect our students, their unique cultures, and our place in the world.
Professional Development for Teachers
The Alaska Reads Act offers special training to teachers so they can learn new strategies to become better at teaching reading.
Specific training will be offered at very low cost to teachers, and teachers must complete the training by the summer of 2025 to maintain their teaching licenses. Similar training will also be offered for Principals.
Family and Community Engagement
Families are integral to a child's education, and the Alaska Reads Act recognizes their vital role. The law encourages parents and caregivers to be part of the reading team. It provides tips and resources for families to practice reading together at home.
When families and schools work together, children get double the support, making their reading skills grow even stronger.
Data Tracking and Improvement
Just like tracking progress in a game, the Alaska Reads Act helps schools track how well kids are doing in reading. This helps schools and families understand what's working and where there's room for improvement. It's like having a treasure map that leads to better reading outcomes for every child.
The Alaska Reads Act works to ensure that Alaska's children have a strong foundation in reading. By combining early identification, effective instruction, teacher training, family involvement, data-driven insights, and a culture of celebration, this initiative aspires to create a generation of confident readers who are ready to join their greater community with their literacy skills.