Alabama Literacy Act - Frequently Asked Questions for K-3 Families

  • What is the Alabama Literacy Act? 

    The Alabama Literacy Act was passed in 2019 to help improve reading in Alabama public schools to ensure students are reading on grade level by the end of the 3rd grade. Reading is the gateway to lifelong achievement and the students of Alabama deserve a strong start on their path to success. 

    If your child is reading below grade level or is struggling with reading, his/her teacher will inform you of the reading deficits that have been identified. The teacher will provide your child with additional reading instruction and support, and you will be given strategies to help your child at home.

    Demonstrating sufficient reading skills by the end of 3rd grade is necessary for promotion to 4th grade. 

    Why focus on literacy?

    By 3rd grade, students must be proficient in foundational reading skills in order to comprehend texts. If they are unsuccessful, they will have difficulty understanding grade level reading material. Students also need strong reading skills in order to learn other school subjects such as science, social studies, writing, and even math. 

    How will families be informed of their student's progress?

    Each student in kindergarten through 3rd grade will have his/her reading assessed at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. These assessments will identify students who need intensive reading instruction and intervention. These assessments also provide useful information for the teacher to help tailor instruction to meet individual student needs. Families should receive these results in writing within a designated time frame. 

    What is required for promotion to the 4th grade?

    Third grade students will be promoted to fourth grade if they demonstrate sufficient reading skills through one of the following pathways:

    • Score above the lowest achievement level for the reading portion of the 3rd grade ACAP (Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program), given in the Spring of their 3rd grade year
    • Earn an acceptable score for the ACAP Supplemental Assessment
    • Master Grade 3 Essential Reading Standards in the Student Reading Portfolio
    • Meet one of the good cause exemptions

    What are the Good Cause Exemptions?

    Good cause exemptions allow students who are reading below grade level to be promoted to 4th grade, but still receive interventions and other support. The good cause exemptions include:

    • Students identified as English Language Learners who have had less than three years of instruction in English as a second language.
    • Students with disabilities who participate in the statewide English Language Arts reading assessment and who have an Individual Education Plan or Section 504 Plan that reflects that the student has received intensive reading intervention for more than two years and who still demonstrates a deficiency in reading, or was previously retained in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, or third grade.
    • Students who have received intensive reading intervention for two or more years and who still demonstrate a deficiency in reading and who were previously retained in kindergarten, first grade, or second grade for a total of two years.

    No student shall be retained more than once in third grade.

    Students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Plan indicates that participating in the statewide assessment program is not appropriate, consistent with state law, are automatically exempt from demonstrating sufficient reading skills, as outlined here, in order to achieve promotion.

    If a student does not demonstrate sufficient reading skills through one of the three pathways or does not qualify for a good cause exemption, the student may not be promoted to third grade.

    How will schools help students who are retained in 3rd grade because the student does not meet the promotion requirement?

    Students retained in 3rd grade will receive more intensive reading intervention services including:

    • Offer summer reading camps and Alabama Summer Achievement Program (ASAP) shall be made available to all K-3 students in public elementary schools that are among the lowest performing 5% in reading;

    • Offer before or after school intervention tutoring throughout the year to support learning;

    • Provide reading instruction that is grounded in the science of reading;

    • Provide frequent monitoring to help ensure students are progressing and on track to meet grade-level reading standards;

    • Provide families with a Read-at-Home Plan.