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[s31] Sen. Jim Merritt: Senate Approves Bill to Add ‘Reading’ Requirement for Indiana Elementary Schools
Start Date: 2/5/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/5/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 5, 2013) – A bill to require reading in Indiana elementary school curriculum passed the full Senate today with a vote of 36-13 and State Sen. Jim Merritt’s (R-Indianapolis) support.

 

Merritt helped author Senate Bill 120, which is best known as the proposal that would require Indiana schools to once again teach cursive writing. However, Merritt said the reading requirement in the bill is just as important.

 

“Studies show that cursive writing is linked to cognitive processes in the brain important for child development and other areas of learning, and I was happy to support putting it back into school curriculum,” Merritt said. “That being said, I think everyone can agree that reading is not only vital to our children’s success in school but also to their future careers. Too many Hoosiers aren’t learning the basic skills needed to function in a modern workplace.”

 

According to one study by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, “about one in three Hoosiers have literacy skills below the minimum standard for successful employment.” For that reason, Merritt sponsors a program called “Merritt Star Readers” to promote literacy among youth. He travels to Central Indiana schools to read to fourth-grade classrooms on a regular basis.

 

I started this program initially because I enjoyed talking to fourth graders about Indiana government during Statehouse and school visits,” Merritt said. “One year, a local elementary school — Heather Hills in Warren Township — invited me to visit for ‘story time,’ and I’ve been reading to students ever since.”

 

SB 120’s first author, State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg), said the lack of a reading requirement in Indiana’s elementary curriculum was first brought to her attention by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz.

 

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

 

A full report on Indiana’s workforce literacy can be found here.

 

-30-

 

Contact Information:
Name: Whitney Moorman
Phone: 317-232-7184
Email: wmoorman@iga.in.gov
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