The Rhode Island Right to Read Act 

The Rhode Island Right to Read Act was passed in July of 2019.  The law requires educators to exhibit either proficiency in or awareness of the knowledge and practices of the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy. In addition, Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) must provide professional learning for educators to support these requirements, and Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) must address these requirements within their programs of study.

The Science of Reading, or scientific reading instruction, is defined as empirically-based instruction that is grounded in the study of the relationship between cognitive science and educational outcomes.

Structured Literacy is defined as an approach to teaching that integrates speaking, listening, reading, and writing by providing explicit, systematic, diagnostic-prescriptive instruction in phonological and phonemic awareness, sound-symbol correspondence (phonics), syllables, morphology, semantics, and syntax. For more information, visit RIDE’s Structured Literacy page. 

Whether a teacher must meet proficiency or awareness requirements is determined by the educator's current work assignment. The information below provides an overview of awareness and proficiency requirements; however, all educators should review the RIDE’s Revised LEA Guidance Document (updated 7.2023) to ensure requirements are met.

For additional information:

The Rhode Island General Assembly passed H7 164 Substitute A in June 2022.  Per the legislation, RIDE initiated the regulatory process to draft and seek public feedback regarding the Right to Read Act Regulations. The Council for Elementary and Secondary Education approved the draft Right to Read Act Regulations in May 2023.  The Right to Read Act Regulations are final and available for reference on the Rhode Island Secretary of State webpage.  RIDE updated the Guidance and FAQ document to best reflect the changes articulated within the legislation and regulations. 

The Rhode Island Science of Reading and Structured Literacy Syllabi Refinement Toolvideo resource, and Resource Bank for Syllabi Enhancement are designed to help Rhode Island Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) refine their syllabi to meet the requirements of the Rhode Island Right to Read Act. This resource is based on the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center’s innovation configuration (IC) matrix. The Syllabi Refinement Tool crosswalks all competencies and components of proficiency in the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy as required by the Right to Read Act with the CEEDAR Center’s K-5 Evidence-Based Reading Instruction IC, the Mount St. Joseph Syllabi Planning Rubric, and the International Dyslexia Association’s Knowledge and Practice Standards.

These tools facilitate EPPs thinking comprehensively about the degree to which their syllabi/coursework are aligned to reading science and provide aligned resources to address any determined needs. Additional uses may be found for LEAs (e.g., aligning instruction, assessment, curriculum, and professional learning to the Science of Reading).

Educators in the following work assignments are required to demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and practices of the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy:

  • Early Childhood-5th Grade Classroom Teachers
  • Early Childhood-12th Grade Reading Specialists and Coaches
  • Early Childhood-12th Grade Special Education Teachers
  • Early Childhood-12th Grade English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Teachers
  • Early Childhood-12th Grade Bilingual and Dual Language Teachers

Upon the culmination of this training from a RIDE approved provider, educators will be eligible for the Literacy/Dyslexia Endorsement.

Approved Providers for Proficiency Expectations (K-12):

Approved Providers for Preschool/PreK proficiency*:

*Completing an approved provider for Preschool/PreK proficiency does not meet the Literacy/Dyslexia Endorsement eligibility expectations.

Review the Right to Read Proficiency Examination Guidance Document for more information on individual educators taking the KPEERI or Pearson Foundations of Reading Exam to meet the proficiency expectations of the Right to Read Act.

Teachers in the following work assignments are required to exhibit awareness of the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy:

  • Art Teacher
  • Business Education Teacher
  • Career & Technical Education Teacher
  • Dance Teacher
  • 6-12 ELA/English Teacher
  • Family Consumer Science Teacher
  • Health Teacher
  • Library Media Studies Teacher
  • 6-12 Mathematics Teacher
  • Music Teacher
  • Physical Education Teacher
  • School Nurse Teacher
  • 6-12 Science Teacher
  • 6-12 Social Studies/History Teacher
  • Technology Teacher
  • Theater Teacher
  • World Language Teacher

While educators in the following work assignments are not required to exhibit awareness or proficiency according to the Right to Read Act, RIDE strongly suggests including to form a cohesive understanding of the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy within an LEA:

  • Curriculum Director
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • School Counselor
  • School and District Administrator
  • Registered School Nurse
  • School Psychologist
  • School Social Worker
  • Speech-Language Pathologist

RIDE partnered with BRIDGE-RI to develop courses that will fulfil the awareness requirements of the Right to Read Act. These five interactive courses consist of a total of 10 hours of content and will be available to LEAs at no cost.

NEW! All five courses in the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy Awareness series are live now. You may access the courses by following these directions.

If you are planning to offer these courses in a group setting, please reference this group completion document.