91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Snyder order creates literacy commission

The shelves at Open Books. The Chicago nonprofit is working to improve literacy rates in the city.
Open Books
The shelves at Open Books. The Chicago nonprofit is working to improve literacy rates in the city.

A state panel will be named soon to look into improving Michigan’s dismal literacy rate. Governor Rick Snyder signed an executive order Wednesday creating the new PreK-12 Literacy Commission.

Michigan has one of the nation’s worst literacy rates. It’s ranked 40th when it comes to student literacy in the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Nearly half of all third graders in the state don’t read at grade level, according to last year’s standardized student tests.

Anna Heaton is the governor’s press secretary. She says the trend is moving in the wrong direction.

"We’re not getting better,” she says. “We’re actually falling further behind, so we need to improve our reading literacy rate so we can be more competitive for jobs in the future.”

A bill before the Legislature to help improve student literacy has languished in a House and Senate conference committee since March. One version would require schools to hold back third graders who are not proficient.

Heaton says commission will be looking for early intervention strategies, and community resources to help with improving literacy:

“They’ll be looking at things like early intervention – how successful early intervention is, and, if so, at what age and grade level it’s most effective, and how businesses and local organizations can help. You know, this isn’t just on educators. It’s on a whole community coming together to help boost these rates.”

Heaton says adults who struggle with reading is also a problem.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
Related Content