On July 8, 2011, Governor Quinn signed HB2397 (Public Act 97-88), which adds a new Section 10-20.53 to the Illinois School Code.  The new law requires school boards to promote 60 minutes of minimum reading opportunities each day for students in kindergarten through third grade whose reading level is one grade level or lower than the student's current grade level according to current learning standards and the school district.

The challenge for school districts will be to find 60 minutes of minimum reading opportunities each day for students reading below grade level when the daily school schedule is already filled with other instructional requirements. Additionally, the statute does not define either “minimum reading opportunities” or what constitutes “promotion” of those opportunities. We anticipate further guidance from ISBE on these issues in the near future.