Read by Grade 3 Law - What you need to know

Dear Parents and Guardians,

In 2016, the Michigan Legislature passed the Read by Grade Three Law in an effort to ensure that students exit 3rd grade reading at or above grade level.  The law will impact all current and future third grade students. In accordance with this law, we will continue to conduct reading assessments with TK-3rd grade students. These assessments will identify students who need intensive reading instruction and intervention and will also provide useful information to help teachers tailor instruction to meet individual student needs.

TK-3rd grade students will at a minimum be assessed at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year.  All TK-3rd grade parents will be informed of the results of our assessments and included in planning the next steps.  The law also requires districts to provide an individual reading plan to parents of TK-3rd grade students with reading difficulties.  This plan will include information about current services being provided, additional reading supports planned for your child, and strategies for you to help your child at home (“Read-at-Home plan”).  Assessment results will be available in time for you to discuss at Parent/Teacher Conferences.

Beginning in the 2019/2020 school year, all 3rd grade students will be required to take a standardized state assessment at the end of the year to determine promotion to 4th grade. If your child is reading below grade level at the end of 3rd grade, the law compels us to inform you in writing that your child will not be promoted to 4th grade unless they qualify for an exemption (exemption examples included in the link below).

In the Berkley School District, we rarely retain elementary students.  We know students who may be struggling with reading in 3rd grade often blossom in 4th or 5th grade.  Not all students mature intellectually at the same rate.  Just as children have physical growth spurts, they also have intellectual growth spurts.  While we take seriously the responsibility to ensure students are reading at grade level every year, we also understand our equally important responsibility to support the emotional and social growth of our students.

Further, the research on holding students back is mixed at best.  We believe the decision to hold a child back should be made by the school with the input of parents, and should not be based solely on a test.  We will continue to consult with parents to make the decision which will ultimately be in the best interest of each child.

As always, we appreciate your support and involvement. For more information, please see the documents and links below.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your building principal or the Director of Teaching, Learning or Technology.

State of Michigan's Read by Grade 3 Law Parent Resources

External LinkVisit the state's website to view parent resources, videos, posters and bookmarks.

Acadience Reading Facts for Parents

The teachers and administrators at our schools are committed to helping your child become a successful reader. As part of this commitment, Berkley Schools has chosen to use a reading screening assessment called Acadience Reading (formerly DIBELS) to help us examine how each child is doing in learning important reading skills.

Acadience Reading assesses five skills that are necessary for learning to read. Children who learn these skills become proficient readers. The skills are:

  • Phonemic Awareness: Hearing and using sounds in spoken words
  • Alphabetic Principle: Knowing the sounds of the letters and sounding out written words
  • Accurate and Fluent Reading: Reading stories and other materials easily and quickly with few mistakes
  • Vocabulary: Understanding and using a variety of words
  • Comprehension: Understanding what is spoken or read

The Acadience Reading assessment is comprised of six brief measures that function as indicators of the essential skills that every child must master to become a proficient reader. Acadience Reading is made up of seven short individual assessments, called subtests. Each Acadience Reading subtest focuses on a different skill and takes about 1 minute to do. Each child may be given two to five of the Acadience Reading subtests depending on his or her grade level. Each Acadience Reading subtest takes only about one minute to do because they are used as indicators. Much like using a thermometer to take a child’s temperature is an indicator of overall health, each subtest is an indicator of how well a child is doing in learning a particular early reading skill.

Acadience Reading is used with millions of children throughout the United States. A child’s score on a subtest tells us whether the child is likely to be “on track” for learning to read, or whether that child may need some help in learning important reading skills. Each child’s teacher will use the information to better help each child. For example, the Acadience Reading assessment may tell us that we need to spend more time teaching a child how to “sound out” unknown words.

Acadience Reading is used to identify children who may need extra help to become proficient readers and check up on those children while they receive the extra help to make sure they are making progress. Acadience Reading also may be used by our schools to make decisions about how well the school’s overall reading program is working for all children.

We are working hard at school to make sure that every child is on target for success, and we thank you for your efforts at home. Together, we will help your child become a successful reader.

Preschool Early Literacy Indicators (PELI®)

Berkley Schools will also utilize the Preschool Early Literacy Indicators (PELI) with our Transitional Kindergarten students.

The PELI is set of standardized subtests within a storybook format for children 3 to 5 years of age. The assessment measures children’s current early literacy and language skills and growth in these skills across the school year. The subtests in PELI are Alphabet Knowledge, Vocabulary-Oral Language, Comprehension, and Phonological Awareness. Titles for the developmentally appropriate storybooks include:  On the Farm, Show and Tell at School, Off to the Grocery Store, A Day at the Playground, Cooking with Mom and Time for Bed. The PELI is untimed and takes about 15 minutes to administer.

There are two different PELI book sets. One book set is available for children 3 to 4 years old and a different set of books is available for children 4 to 5 years old. Each book set includes five PELI books (three benchmark and two interim progress monitoring books), score sheets, and an Assessment Manual.

Description of the Subtests and Composite Scores

Alphabet Knowledge. During the Alphabet Knowledge task, children are asked to identify as many letters as possible on a page that includes a random array of all 26 letters of the alphabet.

Vocabulary and Oral Language

The Vocabulary and Oral Language subtest has two expressive language tasks, Picture Naming and Tell About. For the Picture Naming task, the child is shown a picture of a scene related to the theme of the book. The child is asked to name ten pictures that range from easy (i.e., known by many preschool children) to difficult (i.e., known by some preschool children). During Tell About a child is asked to tell everything he/she can about five of the pictures.


Comprehension on the PELI Comprehension Questions, the assessor reads a short story and pauses during and after the reading to ask simple literal, prediction and inference questions. Following the story, the child participates in a Shared Retell task during which the assessor retells the story.

Phonological Awareness

Phonological Awareness is assessed through a game during which the child is shown a picture of a scene related to the theme of the book. The child is shown a series of 10 pictures of objects and asked to identify the first part or the first sound of a word for each picture. This page of the book is a pocket page depicting a scene related to the theme of the story. After the child responds, he/she gets to put the picture in the pocket.

Composite Scores

PELI has two composite scores. The PELI Language Index (PLI) is a combined score that includes the Vocabulary-Oral Language and Comprehension subtests. The PELI Composite Score (PCS) is a combination of all of the PELI subtest scores and provides the best estimate of overall early literacy performance.

Benchmark goals

Benchmark goals and cut points for risk have been established for the PELI for each subtest and composite score. An advantage of these established benchmarks is that they serve as predictors of performance on future kindergarten Acadience Reading Next assessments.
Sample Materials

PDF DocumentView a sampling of PELI materials

Berkley Schools also is utilizing NWEA to record student growth data in support of the Read by Grade Three Law.

External LinkLearn more about NWEA in their NWEA Parent Tool Kit website.

PDF DocumentAdditional Information is available in the NWEA Map Growth Parent's Guide.