New Hampshire Bill Requiring Schools to Implement Modern Reading Instruction Moves to Governor

Public school educators in New Hampshire are on the verge of being mandated to adapt their reading instruction methods as a bill awaits approval from Governor Chris Sununu.

The Senate recently passed House Bill 1015, which would officially integrate the “five essential components of reading” into the state’s educational curricula. This approach, endorsed by the National Reading Panel in 1997, emphasizes phonetics over traditional methods that rely on visual word recognition.

While hailed by experts and educators for its effectiveness, not all New Hampshire school districts have embraced this teaching model independently, supporters of the bill note.

According to Representative Corrine Cascadden, a Democrat from Berlin, the bill aims to ensure that all New Hampshire students receive tailored reading instruction that aligns with their unique abilities and needs.

The current law mandates literacy instruction up to third grade, encompassing reading, writing, speaking, listening, reasoning, and mathematics. The proposed bill extends this requirement to fifth grade and specifies the inclusion of the five fundamental reading components: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Furthermore, the bill emphasizes the attainment of “grade level literacy” for each student and expands the math instruction stipulation to encompass mathematics reasoning and calculation.

If enacted, the bill’s provisions will not become effective until July 2027 to allow schools ample time for implementation.

Reflecting on her experience as a former elementary school principal in Berlin, Cascadden highlighted the positive impact of adopting the five reading components, noting a notable rise in literacy levels among students. However, she acknowledged a diminishing focus on this approach in recent years, with some schools neglecting its benefits.

Having garnered overwhelming support in the House with a vote of 365-9 in March, the bill now awaits final approval to reshape reading education across New Hampshire.

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