Move On When Reading

The “Move On When Reading” policy, a combination of A.R.S. §15-701, A.R.S. §15-704, and A.R.S. §15-211 laws, requires that a student not be promoted from third grade to fourth grade if he or she “does not demonstrate sufficient reading skills” on the state’s third grade reading test. “Does not demonstrate sufficient reading skills” indicates that the child is reading at a much lower level than is expected of a third grader and needs additional help.

The purpose of the policy is designed to promote early identification and intervention for children with reading challenges so that they are at or above grade level by the end of third grade.

What Schools are Required to Do:

Arizona law A.R.S.§15-704 states that districts or charters are required to:

  • Have a comprehensive K-3 assessment system
  • Provide for universal screening of pupils in preschool through third grade programs to identify students who have reading difficulties
  • Have a evidence-based reading curriculum
  • Provide explicit instruction and intensive intervention
  • Send out an annual written notice to K-3 parents about the policy
  • Send a second letter to students scoring “well below” on assessments throughout the year

For parents of students that have been identified as having difficulties with reading, a separate written notification is sent that includes:

  • Description of current reading services provided to pupil
  • Description of supplemental services to be provided
  • Parental strategies to assist student in attaining reading proficiency
  • Retention statement and explanation of exemption policy
  • Description of district or charter policy on mid-year promotion to a higher grade

If your child is held back in third grade…

Retention does not mean that your child has failed. It does not mean that teachers or parents are not working hard enough. It means that your child needs and will have more time and help to catch up and read at grade level.

The law requires that students held back must be supported through appropriate strategies, which include:

  • Intensive reading instruction before, during, or after the regular school day
  • A different teacher assigned for reading instruction
  • Summer school reading instruction
  • Small group, teacher-led reading instruction, which may include computer-based learning

Learn more at:

If a child “does not demonstrate sufficient reading skills”…

A third grader who does not demonstrate sufficient reading skills may be promoted to fourth grade if the student:

  • Is an English language learner (ELL) and has received fewer than two years of instruction in English
  • Is in the process of a special education referral or has been diagnosed as having a reading impairment, including dyslexia
  • Is a child with a disability and his/her school’s Individualized Education Program team members agree that promotion is appropriate
  • Demonstrates sufficient reading skills or adequate progress in reading as evidenced through a collection of reading assessments approved by the State Board of Education

Important questions to ask your principal or school:

  • How will I know that my child has a reading problem?
  • How often will my child be assessed and how will I be kept up to date on my child’s progress?
  • How do you determine what kind of extra support and instruction my child needs?
  • What parent activities or workshops are available to me to help my child with reading?
  • If my child is retained and makes progress in reading proficiency during the summer or school year, can my child be promoted to fourth grade?