Senate takes up measure to hold back 3rd graders who can't read

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PHOENIX -- Lawmakers are looking at a proposal that would require schools to hold back third graders who don't meet state reading standards.

The House has unanimously approved the measure.

Students who can't read at a third-grade level would be required to attend summer school and to repeat the third grade with a new teacher.

There are some exceptions, including special-education students and students for whom English is a second language.

State Superintendent Tom Horne supports the proposal 100 percent.

"A student who goes to fourth grade and falls far below in reading, which is the grade level that is required for the student to be held back, has very little chance of success," he said. "We need to be sure students are reading proficiently by the third grade in order to go on."

The Senate will now take up the bill.