Letters: Fully funded pre-K key to reading

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Third grade reading scores are going in the wrong direction with fewer students passing the IREAD test. The state Legislature is trying to solve this by earlier testing and more retention. This is too late and too little!

By fully funding pre-K for all Hoosier children and paying living wages to pre-K teachers, students would get an earlier start when learning to read. More pre-K teachers are needed to accomplish this, and they need decent compensation. This would also give children an opportunity to develop good social relationships. Better pay would also encourage more adults to enter this profession.

Indiana currently requires children to start school by age 7. This is way too late and should be changed to 5 to help accomplish the goal of improved reading and comprehension. Legislators have kept the mandatory age for children to start school the same for many, many years; as far as I’ve seen, no one has proposed a change. Why not? Who is partially to blame for students having difficulty reading?

Having children begin school at an earlier age would also benefit families as it would allow parents to work during those hours to also help alleviate the shortfall of workers in some areas. Perhaps some of those parents would even become teachers!

—Barbara Wellnitz

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