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Fact: The U.S. State of Arizona has passed a law that will be implemented next year mandating that all third graders must pass a reading test or risk being held back.

The idea behind the law is to motivate teachers to better identify at-risk students before they reach the third grade. Early interventions tend to have better outcomes, and, to state the obvious, it is much more positive for the child’s psychology if they spend as few years as possible “falling behind” or “failing” in school.

Previous literacy research has shown that third graders who have an appropriate reading level are more likely to go to college.

Arizona joins 32 other states that are targeting literacy levels at third grade in an effort to improve the school system.

What do you think? Should a child be held back a year if they can’t pass a reading test?


Sarah Forrest is a System Coach for the Easyread System, an online phonics course for struggling readers. Easyread specializes in helping kids with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, highly visual learning styles, and more. Find out more at