As required by Act 284, the state of South Carolina has developed a State Reading Plan. Four challenges are listed: low student achievement in reading and writing, literacy achievement gaps among demographic groups and limited number of exemplary literacy classrooms. The report refers to eight components of the law intended to address these challenges: state, district and school reading plans, focus on third grade progression, summer reading camps, provision of reading interventions, requirements for in-service educator endorsements, early literacy and literacy development, teacher preparation and literacy coaches. There are six elements to the plan: provide professional learning, build a comprehensive assessment system, provide research-based strategies for summer programs and activities for parents, provide access to professional learning needed for endorsements, foster partnerships, strengthen instruction. There are research rationales for each element. Within the rationale for element one, exemplary literacy classrooms are defined as devoting significant time to actual reading and writing, having numerous books matched to student reading level, providing high quality instruction in skills and strategies, the prevalence of small groups and individualized instruction based on students’ needs and a strong focus on students needs. Each of these is elaborated in an appendix. The state intends to continue to provide professional development for state-funded literacy coaches. There was funding for literacy coaches in every elementary school in the state. Depending on test scores, districts either received full or partial funding for a coach.
The document has a section about district reading plans and reiterates the requirements in the law: documentation of instruction for all students, documentation of interventions K-12 for struggling readers, description of a system to helping parents, description of how the district monitors reading achievement, description of how the district ensures all students have a wide selection of texts, provisions for professional learning for teachers, description of partnerships with community group, budget information which shows how literacy development has been prioritized. In the law, these plans were supposed to be in place for struggling readers during 2014-2015 and for all students 2015-2016. The state department though has revised this and plans now are not due until Spring 2016.