The arrival of the new year brings with it much-needed change for New York State’s education system. In a bold and highly anticipated move, Governor Hochul announced plans to revitalize and transform the way we teach children how to read in the state of New York.
In the first days of January 2024, the Governor revealed the intention to propose new legislation that places the Science of Reading at the forefront of instruction across New York schools by 2025. This legislation would shift the focus from Balanced Literacy to evidence-based instruction and the principles of the Science of Reading, which Da Vinci Collaborative has been promoting for years.
“Reading is the foundation of our education system, but New York State is currently not meeting basic reading proficiency levels,” Governor Hochul said in a press release. “We cannot continue to allow our kids to fall further behind by utilizing outdated and discredited approaches to reading comprehension. Our Back to Basics initiative will reset how schools approach reading, returning to scientifically proven techniques. Along with investments in teacher training programs, we are tackling this issue head on to make sure our teachers and kids are set up for success.”
Why the shift from Balanced Literacy to the Science of Reading makes sense
The new Back to Basics initiative is meant to improve the way that reading is taught in schools across the state, and it’s an initiative that’s truly needed after the pandemic forever changed the way our education system works. According to The Washington Post, New York State ‘has seen reading proficiency scores dip after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools and forced classes online.’ Data quoted by the newspaper shows that fewer than half of New York’s third-grade students read at proficient levels in state tests in 2023.
These numbers are important because, according to official data, being able to read proficiently by the third grade is a crucial indicator of the future success of a student. Those students who don’t achieve proficiency by the end of the third grade are four times more likely to end up dropping out of schools – while those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with learning disabilities, or students of color are even more at risk.
$10M to be invested in training teachers in the Science of Reading
New York City officials introduced similar changes to school literacy programs to the city’s elementary school districts, and now these changes are going statewide. The Governor’s Back to Basics program would require school districts across N.Y. to use the Science of Reading principles by September 2025, and it would not exempt high-performing schools, either.
According to an official press release, Gov. Hochul will also propose $10 million in state investments to train 20,000 teachers in New York in Science of Reading best practices. The plan is to also expand SUNY and CUNY’s micro credentialing programs for teachers, with a focus on the Science of Reading, to further help educators develop and hone their skills to fit the new approach.
At Da Vinci Collaborative, evidence-based instruction has always been our focus
At Da Vinci Collaborative, we’ve been promoting, teaching, and applying the principles of the Science of Reading for many years, and we’ve seen firsthand what a difference it can make, especially if taught at an early age.
By focusing our efforts on teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension, which are the main pillars of evidence-based instruction, we can help struggling students achieve reading proficiency and literacy and reach their full potential. The Science of Reading is the best approach when it comes to teaching students with reading disabilities, from dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia to ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, or visual impairment.
Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or a school administrator looking to learn more about the Science of Reading, its benefits and challenges, and how it can help struggling children achieve their full academic potential, don’t hesitate to reach out to Da Vinci Collaborative or check out our next training events.
Our team has been applying the principles of evidence-based instruction for many years, and we have the right tools and resources to help you hone your own skills in this direction.