§ 16-67-2. The literacy program.
(a) Activities under this section shall include strategies to improve the performance of students in mathematics, reading and writing, and to specifically address issues of dyslexia. Such activities must be founded on a scientific research base, as described in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, title I, part B, § 1208 (20 U.S.C. § 6368). Reading instruction to improve the reading skills of all students in the early grades (specifically kindergarten (K) through to and including grade five (5)) shall be consistent with the council on elementary and secondary education's reading policy. This legislation requires that the following six (6) activities, which comprise the literacy program, be conducted:
(1) Screening for all children first entering school. All school districts that provide elementary education are required to screen all children prior to, or upon, their first entry to school to determine their level of educational readiness. All children are required to participate in this screening. Screening shall address the child's educational development and shall be used to determine whether he or she is educationally disadvantaged in terms of readiness for instruction in the literacy skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening, or mathematics.
(2) Literacy focus in instruction in kindergarten through grade three (3) for all students. All school districts that provide elementary education shall focus their kindergarten through grade three (3) instruction for all students on literacy: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and mathematics. All instruction shall be geared to helping students achieve the outcomes in literacy that have been specified by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education. School districts are encouraged to consider reducing class size to no more than fifteen (15) students as one means to achieving these outcomes. School districts will be held accountable for student achievement of the literacy outcomes.
(3)(i) Supplementary literacy instruction for educationally disadvantaged students in grades kindergarten through twelve (12).
(ii) Supplementary literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening, and mathematics) instruction may be required for educationally disadvantaged students. The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall stipulate for each school district the specific cutoff points and the grades for required service each year. Services must be provided first to students who are most educationally disadvantaged. Services shall focus on instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and mathematics. Program emphasis shall be as follows:
(A) Intensive development in literacy. Kindergarten through grade three (3).
(B) Early intervention in literacy. Grades four (4) through six (6).
(C) Remediation in literacy. Grades seven (7) through eight (8).
(D) Intensive remediation in literacy. Grades nine (9) through twelve (12).
(iii) School districts will be held accountable for student achievement of the literacy outcomes.
(4) Dropout prevention programs. Programs shall address the academic, social, or personal needs of potential dropouts. Projects shall be selected at the discretion of the commissioner of elementary and secondary education.
(5) State-level program support. Activities shall provide for necessary planning and administrative functions and for a broadly representative advisory council.
(6) Dyslexia-targeted assistance. The literacy program shall also include assistance to students by providing strategies that formally address dyslexia, when appropriate. In addition, the department of elementary and secondary education shall offer to school districts, at no cost to the school district or to participants in the training, professional development services to enhance the skills of elementary teachers in the use of evidence-based strategies to improve the literacy skills of students with dyslexia.
(b) As used in this section, the term "dyslexia" means a specific and significant impairment in the development of reading, including, but not limited to, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension that is not solely accounted for by intellectual disability, sensory disability or impairment, or lack of appropriate instruction.
(P.L. 1987, ch. 582, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 336, § 3; P.L. 2004, ch. 185, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 246, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 205, § 1.)