Major improvement: Data shows Alaska’s youngest students advancing after Alaska Reads Act passed

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced today that the data demonstrates that Alaska’s youngest students are experiencing significant advances in early literacy as a result of the Alaska Reads Act.

The landmark legislation, co-sponsored by Gov. Mike Dunleavy and former Senator Tom Begich, was crafted to ensure all students can read at grade level by third grade and is reshaping Alaska’s education landscape, his office said.

The Alaska Reads Act employs evidence-based reading strategies, including professional development in the Science of Reading, and introduces new curricula and targeted interventions. This comprehensive approach led to significant gains in reading proficiency among kindergarten through third-grade students statewide.

Alaska is currently in the second year of implementing the Alaska Reads Act. The recently concluded school year is the first year of the law’s accountability requirements. 

At the start of this academic year, only 41% of students met early literacy benchmarks. By the school year’s end, the percentage of students meeting benchmarks rose to 57%.

Among kindergarten students, proficiency rates rose from 24% at the beginning of the year to 60% by the end of the year.

The State Board of Education selected Amplify to provide districts the early literacy screener required by the Alaska Reads Act. According to Amplify, “Alaska’s first year of statewide implementation of the mCLASS 8th Edition assessment has yielded improvements in student performance that surpass those observed in the rest of our national user base, which includes over two million students across schools in America.”

“I’m encouraged by the improvements Alaska’s students are already experiencing because of the Alaska Reads Act,” Dunleavy said. “As these results are beginning to show, when we implement effective education reform, Alaska’s students are capable of success.”

“The remarkable progress we’ve seen, especially among our youngest learners is a testament to the collective effort of Alaskans across the state,” said DEED Commissioner Deena Bishop. “These results not only highlight the effectiveness of the Alaska Reads Act, but also sets a promising trajectory for the educational future of Alaska.”

State Board of Education Chairman James Fields extended heartfelt gratitude to the educators, parents, and students for their dedication and hard work.

“This progress is a testament to the commitment and resilience of our teachers, students, and their families,” Fields said. “Together, we are making strides toward a future where every Alaskan child possesses the fundamental skills to succeed. Thank you for your relentless pursuit of educational excellence.”

For further details on the Alaska Reads Act first-annual report, visit The Alaska Reads Act – Education and Early Development.

15 COMMENTS

  1. I can only speak to the school where I work, but I do spend time helping students read and their progress and ability is really something to behold. Very proud of the kids’ accomplishments. 🙂

    • Thank you for your time in the schools Manda! We too have seen some big improvements in our local K-3 reading this year as well, and it’s due in large part to the Alaska Reads Act but also to our committed aides and volunteer parents.

  2. The people responsible for this improvement in reading skills will be punished severely. It will not be tolerated by the NEA. They worked too long and hard to achieve those low scores to allow this to happen. High literacy for the masses is not part of the master plan.

  3. Key words here, ”Evidence based reading strategies including professional development in the science of reading.” non religious.
    Now we need discipline and order and the kids are good to go.

    • You seem to be hung-up on religious issues, which have really nothing to do with the topic at hand. Reading ability does not depend on the text used, but the method applied.
      BTW we are talking about public schools. When was the last time a religious text graced their door step?
      Fun fact, a lot of that “discipline and order” you want, can clearly be traced back to the Bible. You know like don’t lie, cheat or steal, respect your elders and follow the rules.

      • Children used to be required to read the entire bible, as well as many other text which would be considered advanced reading even in college by today’s low standards. You are correct in that a return of biblical “values” would certainly change attitudes, but without parental involvement that’s a tough road. You are also correct it is about the skill of reading (and then comprehension) not necessarily what is read. We expect low standards from our children and they have achieved what we asked of them. The less we expect, the lower they will perform. Our kids are capable of so much more.

  4. I very much hope this is true. Don’t forget for a minute that everyone involved in developing this data has an interest in the outcome being positive. Above all, don’t forget that it’s government that is reporting this. For example, if these data had come from the Juneau Assembly I would happily bet my truck and my backhoe that the truth has not been revealed. I think that D-day, in 1944 may have been the last time that any government in the US told the truth.

  5. Well whaddya know it didn’t take hundreds of millions of dollars through a massive BSA increase to achieve improvement! Better, nationally proven policy drives student progression. Who knew??

  6. YES high literacy rates mean more thinkers! Real problem for Marxist color revolution! Also show me a moral person that is an athethist and I will show you someone I don’t trust. MORALITY based on nothing is a whim.

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