Governor Signs Literacy Bill Into Law

Governor Kim Reynolds sat in the back row as ADM teacher Erin Koelker led her first graders through reading exercises. (Radio Iowa Photo)

Adel, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds says a focus on what’s called “the science of reading” will improve the reading skills of students.

The governor went to Adel Tuesday afternoon and sat among a group of first graders as their teacher led them through a reading lesson.

The Adel-DeSoto-Minburn district adopted the science of reading three years ago in all grades and Travis Welker, the administrator in charge of the project — says they’ve had amazing results. Four years ago, tests showed a quarter of the district’s students were not skilled readers. This year’s results show 95 percent are proficient at reading and writing.  

Reynolds chose an Adel-DeSoto-Minburn board room as the site for signing a bill into law that requires Iowa schools to develop a plan for each student in first, second or third grade who is not reading at grade level. The law also requires testing of Iowa college students who want to be teachers to gauge their knowledge of the science of reading. Reynolds says the most recent data shows 35 percent of Iowa third graders aren’t reading at grade level.  

Nine million dollars is set aside in the state budget for that training. “Stay tuned because I think this is something we’re going to be able to show progress year after year and really have some good wins to talk about,” Reynolds said. The governor spoke with reporters at the end of a hallway the school had named “Literacy Way.”