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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) — Alabama third graders will soon be required to read on grade level, or they will be held back.

“I can’t really say one way or the other exactly the total impact of it, but I can say there are a lot of questions to be answered,” said Dr. Walter Gonsoulin, Jefferson County Interim Superintendent.

It’s called the Alabama Literacy Act. Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, kids will have to read on grade level by the end of third grade and pass a standardized test, or they’ll have to repeat the grade.

“What is proficiency? What’s going to be their measurement? I can tell you that it’s going to impact some children and families,” said Gonsoulin.

The law was passed with the intent of making sure students get a solid foundation early. Current first graders will be the first class affected by the act, which also calls for kids not proficient in reading to have things like interventions and summer camps.

“The summer program is 70 hours. And then smaller class sizes if the child is retained. And then my number one question is, who funds this?” Gonsoulin asked.

A statewide task force is responsible for implementing the law. It met just this week to talk about particulars.

“We need to know as soon as possible. Because again, we want to put the teachers, the students, and the parents in the right position, so that they can succeed,” said Gonsoulin.

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