Read by Grade 3

In order for scholars to be college and career ready, it is important that they have strong literacy skills. As a district, we understand that one of the biggest predictors of literary success is a child’s ability to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. We placed an extra focus on 3rd grade reading for the past several years.

In 2016, the Michigan Legislature passed a law related to 3rd grade reading. The law known as Public Act 306 requires that scholars pass a state test at the end of 3rd grade in order to move on to 4th grade. This portion of the law takes effect in the 2019-2020 school year. We've created a guide and resources for you, to ensure that your child is ready to read by grade 3!

A scholar will not be promoted to 4th grade unless they:

  • Receive a reading score of less than one year behind on grade 3 ELA M-STEP
  • Show a grade 3 reading level on another test approved by the superintendent of public instruction
  • Show a grade 3 reading level through a portfolio or collection of scholar work in all grade ELA standards.

What is the Public Act 306?

To boost reading achievement, Michigan lawmakers passed Public Act 306 in October 2016. Michigan's test scores on the M-Step and the National Assessment of Education Progress reading assessment have shown a need for attention to early reading and literacy. To help scholars be more proficient by the end of 3rd grade, this law requires extra support for K-3 scholars who are not reading at grade level.

This law requires that a child be retained in 3rd grade if they are not reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.


What Families Need to Know

You are encouraged to be involved every step of the way to support your child's reading! Their reading progress will be closely monitored. If your child is not reading where expected, a plan to improve reading will be created. This plan includes extra instruction and support in the areas of need, ongoing checks on reading progress, and a read at home plan.

How is extra reading support determined?

Grand Rapids Public Schools uses the NWEA MAP to identify scholars who need extra support. The NWEA MAP Reading Fluency is then used to provide a more in-depth look at a scholar’s needs. If your child is identified, we will provide you with an Individualized Reading Improvement Plan (IRIP) for your child. Your child will receive extra reading support during the school day, and will not miss regular instruction. Part of the plan will be a read at home plan that engages you and your child outside of the school day.

How can I support my child?

  • Read out loud to your child
  • Listen to them read to you
  • Echo read (you read a line, they repeat)
  • Read together at the same time
  • Reread and retell favorite stories
  • Ask your child to share what they remember
  • Ask questions about the reading
  • Connect the stories to your child’s life or other books you have read
  • Knowing more words helps them understand the words they read better 
  • Let your child write the sounds they hear! Spelling is developmental and a work in progress.

Read by Grade 3 Awareness Resources:

 Michigan Department of Education Read by Grade 3 Awareness Toolkit

 Michigan Department of Education Facts for Families: What is a Good Cause Exception Process?

 Michigan's New 'Read by Grade 3' Law: A Guide for Parents by School News Network


Reading Practice:

 GRPS Parent University - Third Grade Milestones

 Sight Words: Free Resources to Teach Your Child to Read

 Michigan eLibrary by

 Great! Schools: Individualized book lists for multiple grades, subjects, and skill levels

 Reading for Success: How Reading Partners Chooses Just the Right Book

Grand Rapids eLibrary: SORA

Sora is our digital library. It is located at or you can download the Sora app from your app store.

  1. On the bottom of the screen click “I have a setup code”.
  2. Type in: GRPSMI
  3. Login with student’s school username and password.
  4. Click the Explore button to find a book.


Visit Your Local Library:

Local librarians are an excellent resource! Kent District Library and Grand Rapids Public Library staff are ready, trained, and happy to help your child read on grade level by third grade! they can help with:

  • Read at Home Plans
  • Supporting Individual Reading Plans (IRIP)
  • Ways to Read with your Child
  • Strategies for parents to support learning about sounds, letters/words, reading smoothly and understanding stories


Do Not Retain Request Form

If you are notified that your child may be retained, you have the right to meet with school officials and request an exemption if it is in the best interest of the child. You may also click a button below to complete our Do Not Retain Request Form. 

Do Not Retain Request Form

Contact Us

Rozanne Wahl
Erich Harmsen
Executive Director of Professional Learning & Curriculum