Delaware Vote Tracker

Evidence Based Reading Instruction Bill Passes House

Senate Bill 4S, sponsored by Senator Laura Sturgeon, requires the Department of Education to maintain and publish a list of evidence-based, reading instruction curricula for grades kindergarten through 3. It passed the House 40-0-1 and similarily passed the Senate 21-0.

Actually, the House amended the bill with two friendly Amendments that necessitated a return trip to the Senate, where it passed unanimously again, 18-0-3.

Evidence-based reading instruction, or the “science of reading,” focuses on understanding the cognitive learning processes that are essential for reading proficiency. Implementing curricula that supports the science of reading is a recommended best practice for helping students learning to read in kindergarten through the third grade. This legislation not only gives guidance on high-quality instructional materials, but also supports educators and supplies them with the resources needed to teach reading using evidence-based techniques.

Senate Bill 4S requires the Delaware Department of Education to maintain and publish a list of evidence-based, reading instruction curricula. The bill also requires that by the beginning of the 2027-2028 school year, school districts and charter schools serving students in grades K-3 do all of the following:

  • Adopt a reading instruction curriculum from the Department list.
  • Demonstrate that all educators who teach reading participate in high-quality professional learning about evidence-based reading instruction.
  • Identify a school-based supervisory position responsible for assisting with the implementation of the adopted curriculum.

In addition, SB4 requires that school districts and charter schools provide an annual report to the Department regarding the implementation of these requirements and the Department must produce an annual report summarizing this information.

Senate Bill 4S SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Sturgeon, McBride, Brown, Ennis, Gay, Hansen, Lockman, Mantzavinos, Paradee, Pinkney, Poore, Sokola, Townsend, Walsh, Bonini, Hocker, Lawson, Lopez, Pettyjohn, Richardson, WilsonSenate Passes 21-0. Brown Ennis Gay Hansen Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh Bonini Hocker Lawson Lopez Pettyjohn Richardson WilsonNone
K.Williams, Heffernan, Baumbach, MorrisonHouse Passes 40-0-1. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Freel Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton  Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Absent: Yearick
Current Status: Sent to Governor.

Senator Laura Sturgeon: “We know from the 2019 Delaware Literacy Plan that only about half of Delaware students are reading at grade level. We have to do better to strengthen literacy among the next generation of students.

I want to thank my colleagues in the Delaware General Assembly for passing legislation I sponsored with House Education Committee Chair Kim Williams that will provide our public school districts with the tools they need to implement evidence-based reading instruction and achieve better outcomes for students.

Senate Bill 4S will ensure our k-3 ELA teachers have high-quality instructional materials and training in evidence-based reading pedagogy so that every Delaware public school student is reading on grade level by the end of third grade.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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