Lawmakers give final passage to reading bill


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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) —  Alabama could become the next state to require third-grade students to pass a reading test before moving to fourth grade.

The bill would require third-graders to meet reading benchmarks beginning in the 2021-22 school year.

The Alabama Senate on Thursday unanimously approved the bill. The House of Representatives agreed to the amendment. The bill now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey.

The bill also spells out initiatives to try to boost reading scores. Those include summer reading camps and providing local and regional specialists to work with struggling students.

About 16 states demand third-grade students pass a reading score threshold or repeat the grade.

Supporters said statistics show students who can’t read on grade level will struggle throughout their academic careers. Opponents said the bill threatens struggling students with failure but does not adequately provide funding to help them.