The “science of reading” movement is sweeping through state legislatures.
Over the past several years, more states have passed laws or implemented other policies requiring schools to use evidence-based methods for teaching young students how to read. These mandates touch on many different components of instruction, including teacher training, curriculum, and how students are identified for extra support.
The legislative movement gained steam after Mississippi passed a series of laws, starting in 2013, that overhauled the state’s approach to teaching reading and preparing future reading teachers. In 2019, Mississippi saw its students’ reading scores improve on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Many states have since copied key components of the Magnolia State’s legislation, seeking to replicate the “Mississippi model.”
As of July 21, 2023, 32 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws or implemented new policies related to evidence-based reading instruction since 2013, according to an Education Week analysis.
State officials hope that these mandates will shift classroom practice, which will in turn help more students become proficient readers. But reading researchers and practitioners say that the process is rarely that simple.
Even if states are promoting practices with a strong evidence base, initiatives of this scale require careful implementation to be successful. It’s still unclear whether many of these legislative actions will move the needle on student achievement, experts say.
See below for the requirements of each state’s legislation or policy. Hover over the category names below for details on these requirements.
When Did States Pass These Laws?
2021 saw a record number of states pass a reading law.
Search for a state below to learn more about its legislation or policy. This table also shows which states allow or require 3rd grade retention for students who are behind in reading.
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How to Cite This Page
Schwartz, Sarah. (2022, July 20). Which States Have Passed ‘Science of Reading’ Laws? What’s in Them? Education Week. Retrieved Month Day, Year from https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/which-states-have-passed-science-of-reading-laws-whats-in-them/2022/07
Design & Visualization: Laura Baker, Maya Riser-Kositsky, and Hyon-Young Kim