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NC education leaders to outline plan to help students struggling to read

According to one study, 88% of students who drop out of high school were not reading on grade level by third grade.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina state education leaders are set to layout their plan to help teachers assist students who are struggling to keep up during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The North Carolina State Board of Education is scheduled to meet Wednesday with a key focus on getting students reading on their grade level. Lawmakers and educators agree it's critical for children to read on grade level by third grade for success in school and life. 

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The pandemic has taken a toll on education at all levels, with younger children really feeling the effects. The board will discuss ways it can implement or adjust the curriculum to help students and teachers alike. The new program would make using phonics to teach reading the norm in all elementary schools across North Carolina. 

Earlier this month, North Carolina lawmakers passed two bills aimed at helping students get caught up. One bill requires every district in the state to offer at least six weeks of in-person summer school for K-12 students. The second bill would mandate that elementary school teachers statewide are trained in scientific methods of reading instruction that emphasize phonics, vocabulary and spelling. 

RELATED: NC lawmakers pass bill that will require at least 6 weeks of summer school for K-12 students

Research shows children who are not reading on grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. According to a study from the Anne E. Casey Foundation, 88% of students who drop out of high school were not reading on grade level in third grade. 

RELATED: 'I fear that they’re going to be even further behind' | Tutors trying to help students catch up from pandemic learning loss