SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) – The Illinois House could soon act on a proposal to improve reading literacy.

Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan) says children are not reading well enough to be successful. Data from the 2019 Illinois Assessment of Readiness found two-thirds of third-graders struggle to read.

The proposal requires teacher candidates to show their knowledge of foundational reading skills by passing a new exam. Mayfield’s bill asks the State Board of Education to support districts by creating curriculum guidance lists for schools.

Louise Dechovitz, Vice President of Avoca Elementary District 27, testified in support of the bill Wednesday morning. Dechovitz said there is a reading crisis in Illinois.

“Our children deserve evidence-based literacy instruction,” Dechovitz said. “And all teachers deserve the knowledge and skills to be able to provide it. Our literacy challenge will not go away without bold action.”

Advocates also said school districts should not be expected to find the time and money to figure out a solution on their own. House Bill 5032 calls for grant opportunities for districts who agree to transition their curriculum and training.

The State Board of Education is also working with advocates to make the exam for teaching candidates cost-effective.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Association of College Teacher Education Programs is opposed to the bill. Lori Reimers said the organization is against the proposed assessment for teacher candidates. Reimers also said the association would meet with advocates Wednesday to discuss a good way to move forward.

The plan passed unanimously out of the House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee. The bill will return to the committee at a later date with an amendment.

Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.


February 17, 2022 at 09:11AM