Jagler Co-Authored Right-to-Read Act Signed By Governor Evers 

Madison... Wednesday, Governor Evers signed the Right-to-Read Act as 2023 Wisconsin Act 20. The bill, co-authored by John Jagler (R-Watertown), overhauls how reading is taught in Wisconsin after years of falling literacy rankings and underwhelming test results. Wisconsin Act 20 addresses the reading crisis by banning the reading instruction known as ‘three-cueing,’ requires regular screenings of students from 4 year-old kindergarten to third grade, offers grants to schools to purchase new curriculum and provides funding for teacher professional development programs.” 

“The most basic skill students learn, the skill that lays the ground work for all other learning, is how to read,” said Jagler. “It’s simply unacceptable that so many Wisconsin 4th graders cannot read at a proficient level. If a student doesn’t learn how to read the ramifications can last into adulthood.” 

The most recent data from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nations Report Card, showed that only 63% of Wisconsin 4th graders are reading at a basic level, only 33% were proficient. Since 1992, Wisconsin fell 31 spots to dead last in African-American reading achievement, Hispanic students fell from 1st to 28th and white students fell from 6th to 27th.

“The one positive to come out of the COVID pandemic was parents were able to see how their children were learning to read and so many were shocked at the curriculum being used,” Jagler said. “This isn’t the fault of the teachers, many of them were sold a story just like the rest of us on the merits of cueing and balanced literacy. Scientific evidence is showing us that these methods simply don’t work and we need to get back to the basics of phonics. My hope is that this bill starts to move us in the right direction.”

Earlier this year, the Senate passed the bill with a bipartisan vote of 25-7, following an Assembly vote of 67-27 the week before.