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Adolescent Literacy: State Requires Schools to Provide Interventions for Struggling Readers

In many states, legislative or state board policy establishes statewide consistency in implementing interventions when a student's reading skills are not improving. Specific interventions might include tutoring, additional reading time, and/or the use of a different instructional approach. A "yes" response indicates the existence of a statewide policy requiring students in grades 4-12 to be offered one or more of these interventions. 

Why does it matter?

  • Reading problems that are not addressed are cumulative, and so are the esteem problems associated with poor reading skills.
  • Reading below a proficient level contributes to decreased ability to comprehend, to apply knowledge and to communicate effectively.
  • Highlights:

  • Twenty-three states provide interventions.
    • Note:
      "In practice" means an approach is not authorized or required by state policy but appears to take place in practice.

      Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, recently enacted legislation (session laws), and rules and regulations. Where necessary, statewide initiatives created outside of policy were collected from state agencies. The information will be updated as changes occur.

      Sources for all data points are available through this link.

      Last updated: June 2008

      Research was conducted by Melodye Bush. Please contact Bush at 303-299-3631 or mbush@ecs.org with comments or questions about this database.

      State requires schools to provide interventions for struggling readers
      Alabama No. While secondary schools participating in the Alabama Reading Initiative must adopt the goal of schoolwide literacy, participation is voluntary. Schools apply to participate in the initiative, and are selected based on a demonstration of readiness and willingness to commit to reforms. Of the 899 Alabama Reading Initiative schools in March 2007, 138 were secondary schools.
      Arizona Yes
      Arkansas Yes, state regulations require point-in-time intervention for students found to be reading below grade level.
      California Yes
      Connecticut No policy evident, but in practice the state department of education directs schools to provide interventions for struggling readers.
      Florida Yes, Just Read, Florida! calls for intensive intervention in reading and requires that it occur early and be delivered through innovative systems. In addition, this law requires local boards to adopt policies in support of summer academies where students receive intensive reading intervention or competency-based credit recovery courses. 
      Georgia Yes
      Illinois Yes
      Indiana Yes  
      Iowa Yes
      Kentucky Yes, Kentucky legislation requires that students scoring poorly on the high school readiness exam, the college readiness exam or on the ACT WorkKeys have intervention strategies for accelerated learning incorporated into their learning plans.
      Louisiana No, however schools must offer a minimum of 50 hours per subject of summer remediation and retest opportunities at no cost to students. Students may not be promoted to the 5th grade until they score at or above the basic achievement level in English language arts.
      Maine No policy evident, but in practice state appears to provide interventions since secondary schools are required to provide remediation and acceleration based on assessment data to receive Comprehensive School Reform funds. Technical assistance is provided to these schools to implement the school reform provisions and literacy supports.
      Maryland Yes
      Minnesota Yes
      Missouri Yes
      New Mexico Yes
      New York No, however in practice the school district is required to provide academic intervention services if a student is at risk of not achieving the state's learning standards in English Language Arts or if the student fails to meet proficiency on the state standardized English Language Arts test.
      North Carolina Yes
      Ohio Yes, for high school students only.
      Oklahoma Yes
      Rhode Island Yes, Rhode Island mandates "personal literacy plans" for struggling readers in K-3 and this requirement was extended to grades 4 and 5 in 2004. Other grades have been phased in over the past few years, and seniors were added in the fall of 2007. By 2011 all students reading below grade level will be required to have a literacy plan and the progress of each student receiving intervention services will need to be monitored. 

      Dropout prevention legislation passed in 2007 mandates "Comprehensive supplemental education programs for middle school students who are below grade level in reading and math."
      South Carolina Yes
      Tennessee Yes
      Texas Yes, school districts must provide additional reading instruction and intervention to 7th grade students to address areas of need identified by the reading instrument. Commissioner is to adopt rules requiring school districts receiving Title I funding to use those funds to provide supplemental education services in conjunction with accelerated instruction.
      Virginia Yes
      Washington Yes
      Wisconsin Yes


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