BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Third and fourth grade students in Louisiana falling behind in reading will be required to participate in 30 more hours of literacy instruction in the summer after a new policy was approved Wednesday.

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) said the new summer literacy policy was approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). According to the policy, only students who score behind grade level by the end of the year will need to participate in extra literacy instruction.

“I’m most concerned about this year’s third and fourth graders. Their foundational school years were disrupted more than any other cohort and we must be all-hands-on-deck for their recovery,” said State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. “This measure focuses additional support for these students and is another step in the right direction.”

LDOE states that students not on reading level and who do not participate in the summer program may be retained or, instead of retention, receive other means of support.

“Literacy is the basis for all learning, and as we work to create positive educational outcomes for Louisiana students, it is critical to provide struggling readers with a path to improvement,” said BESE District 4 Member Michael Melerine. “The summer literacy intervention policy approved by the Board today gives schools and parents another tool to boost reading skills, address learning loss, and help ensure that all of our students are on track for academic success.”

State education officials said the policy is in effect for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.