YORK COUNTY, S.C. -- The start of a new school year means the start of a new law for students in South Carolina.
Third graders struggling to read on their grade level will not be able to move up to the next grade.
Recent statistics from the South Carolina Department of Education shows hundreds are at risk for failing in Rock Hill, Chester and Lancaster.
“The SC Ready Act” requires students who fail the state reading test, taken at the end of the year, to repeat the third grade.
“Kindergarten to third grade is really about skill building and then beyond third grade, we're reading for comprehension,” said Heather McCue. McCue is a librarian with Richland County Library.
NBC Charlotte checked the most recent stats from the Department of Education to find out how many students in our viewing area did not meet state standards on the reading portion of the test.
In the Rock Hill Schools, which has the most third graders in York County, 25 percent of the students who took the test failed the reading portion of the test.
In Lancaster, 22 percent failed and 30 percent of students failed in Chester. That means nearly one out of three third grade students did not pass the reading test, which would prevent them from moving on to the fourth grade.
There are some exceptions to the law for special needs students, those who don’t speak English or those who need special testing.
It's important for parents to remember that your child will learn best by reading outside of the classroom, and that’s where you come in.
“Helping your child associate reading with pleasure and that may be reading aloud to them," said McCue. “Let them read whatever they want. If it's a magazine, if it's a graphic novel, if they want to listen to a book, it all goes into reading. That all ties into literacy."
If a third grader fails, there are other avenues like summer reading camps that your child could attend at the end of the school year.
If they pass, they’ll be in the fourth grade.
To see how well other districts performed on the SC Ready Test click here.