Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act (HA 12-1238, Colorado READ Act)

  • Passed in 2012
  • Focuses on K-3 literacy development, assessment, and READ plans for students identified as having a significant reading deficiency, delineates requirements for parent communication, and provides funding to support intervention.
  • Includes “competitive Early Literacy Grant,” bank of assessments, programing and professional development


  • K-3 teachers use state board approved interim reading assessments throughout each school year, for each student.
  • K-3 teachers are required to “administer one or more of the state board approved diagnostic assessments to determine the student’s specific reading skill deficiencies.”
  • Students who are identified as having a significant reading deficiency are put on a READ plan. This can be integrated into an IEP or Individualized Readiness Plan in lieu of a READ plan.
  • A teacher must develop plans with parents–if after three failed and documented attempts to meet with parents, the teacher will develop the plan without parental input. Teachers are required to continue communication with parents as long as the student is on a READ plan (written communication).


  • ” . . . if a student continues to have a significant reading deficiency at the end of the school year in grades K-3, under state law, the parent, the student’s teacher, and other personnel of the local education provider are required to meet and consider retention as an intervention strategy and determine whether the student, despite having a significant reading deficiency, is able to maintain adequate academic progress at the next grade level.”
  • READ plan must be reviewed for effectiveness and revised at least annually.
  • “If practical, the student should receive reading instruction from a teacher who has expertise in teaching reading and received an effective or highly effecting rating in his/her most recent performance evaluation.”
  • Students who are reading below grade level, but have not been defined as having a significant reading deficiency must receive interventions and be a part of the RtI process (or a similar process).
  • “Districts are not required but are encouraged to (1) start a READ plan for students enrolled in fourth grade or higher, (2) provide parents with opportunities to learn how to better help their children, (3) use the instructional programs included on advisory lists that will be provided by CDE, and (4) provide behavioral support or counseling services for students with READ plans with the approval of the parents, when applicable.”
  • READ plan, previous READ plans, and all relevant documentation is to be kept in the student’s permanent record and transferred if the student moves to a different school.

“Advancement of Students with Significant Reading Deficiencies:

  • Districts must: “adopt procedures for determining whether a student with a significant reading deficiency will advance to the next grade level; outline procedures for communicating with parents/guardians, an approval process for advancement decisions, and procedures for exemptions.” They must communicate to parents in a language the parents understand.
  • Teachers must follow the above procedures.
  • Beginning in 2013/14 SY: Within 45 days of the end of the school year, if a student is determined to have a significant reading deficiency, “personnel of the local education provider” is required to provide written notice to the parents/guardian that there are “serious implications to a student entering fourth grade with a significant reading deficiency.” A meeting should be held and a consensus gathered, regarding advancement to the following grade. If a consensus cannot be met, the parent shall make the final decision (unless the district has put into place a more “rigorous decision making process.” In the event that parents fail to attend the meeting, the school personnel will make the decision.
  • Beginning 2016/17 SY: If a third grade student who has a significant reading deficiency is determined to advance to fourth grade, the superintendent or a designee must approve this decision. The superintendent or designee has the ability to “decide whether or not a student should advance at any grade level regardless of the reason.”


  • A student with limited English whose deficiency is primarily due to language skills may receive an exemption.
  • A student who has completed the same grade level two times may receive an exemption.
  • A student who has a disability and is eligible to take the alternate assessment; or a student who has been identified as having a disability that substantially impacts his progress in developing reading skills may receive an exemption.

District Reporting Requirements

  • Districts must report student, school, and district level data to CDE.
  • Districts are encouraged to report specific strategies and techniques used.
  • Beginning 2012/13 SY districts must report using the state assigned student identifier (SASID) for each student on a READ plan.
  • Beginning 2013/14 SY districts must report information so that CDE can determine the number and percentage of K-3 students on READ plans including the (SASID), number of students not recommended for advancement and the number who did not advance, the reading level of all identified students, and data to compare the progress of students who advanced to the next grade level with students who did not.

State Supports for Effective Implementation

  •  “The Early Literacy Fund provides districts with per-pupil funding in order to help fund programs designed to meet the needs of students identified with a significant reading deficiency.”
  • These funds must be used in one or more ways including: full day kindergarten, tutoring services, or other targeted scientifically or evidence based intervention services approved by CDE, or summer school literacy program. Districts are required to report to CDE the use of the per-pupil moneys.
  • The Early Literacy Grant program is a competitive grant program available.
  • CDE is required to create and maintain a resource bank of approved programs that are scientifically- or evidence-based that “at a minimum” are proved to accelerate progress in attaining reading competency and “provides explicit and systematic skill development.”
  • CDE must also create an advisory list of approved professional development and assessments.

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