Dr. Zais: Only 28 Percent of South Carolina 8th graders are proficient readers.

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Columbia, SC (WLTX)- The South Carolina Senate has passed the Read to Succeed Bill.

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, students who struggle to read by the end of the third grade would be held back for a year of literacy training.

"I was a struggling reader, I am dyslexic," said Dr. Mick Zais.

Dr. Zais, the State Superintendent of Education, shared his own story about about being held back in school in his early years. Dr. Zais says catching the problem early is key to getting a good education.

"We do a disservice to students to simply move them to the next grade because they fall farther and farther behind," said Dr. Zais.

The Read to Succeed Bill that passed the Senate 36-6 on Wednesday calls for reading coaches, teacher training, and would hold struggling students back before they enter the fourth grade.

"A major factor in holding some kids back is what they refer to as the summer slide," said Ellen Stringer.

Stringer is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Lexington County Public Library, she says they offer free programs to help close the gap between summer break and the start of the school year.

"We know that for a child to get good at reading they have to practice just like they would practice soccer," said Stringer.

Dr. Zais says in South Carolina, only 28 percent of 4th graders are proficient in reading and only 28 percent of our 8th graders are proficient.

"If we want to improve the economy and the qualifications of our workforce,we have to fix this reading problem," said Dr. Zais.

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