RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- In a few years if students can't read by the end of third grade, they'll be held back in school. It's a law the Nevada legislature passed in 2015 in an effort to improve graduation rates.
Kids won't be held back until the 2019 - 2020 school year, but those students who will be affected are in first grade right now. For that reason, work is already underway to make sure they are literate.
"It is really nothing new for Washoe County. It is just enhanced by the legislative bill," said Mandi Van Dellen, program manager for Washoe County’s Nevada Kids Read Program (Read By Three). "Well I think it is a common expectation, something that we strive for regardless of the law or not."
Reading early is essential. In the early grades students learn to read. Later on, they read to learn.
"As they continue schooling, they are able to comprehend and go deeper with complex texts," said Van Dellen.
That is the main reason this law exists. If students don't learn early, they'll fall behind later on. While in Washoe County the goals remain the same now as they were prior to the law, some new programs have been put into place to help achieve the goal.
"Every school has a designated learning strategist who is supporting teachers with professional learning around literacy," said Van Dellen.