Reading is the cornerstone of all learning and is critical for college and career readiness. The ability to read and understand written and digital text is of the highest importance in all subject areas. Reading not only includes foundational skills such as fluency, phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, and, comprehension, but also the strategies for applying those skills to make meaning from text and transfer knowledge across the school day and beyond. Regular opportunities to read widely, intentional reading instruction at all grade levels, and thinking about what is learned while reading, fosters growth in reading for all learners.
The Minnesota Department of Education supports reading achievement for all learners by providing guidance and technical assistance on implementation of academic standards, current literacy best practices, multi-tiered systems of intervention, and reading policy administration.

Standards and Assessments
The Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in English Language Arts, which includes reading standards, were revised in 2010 and were to be implemented by the 2012-2013 school year. The standards will be reviewed again during the 2018-2019 school year.

The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) and the Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) are the state tests that help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota's academic standards. Most students take the MCA, but students with significant cognitive disabilities who receive special education services and meet eligibility criteria may take the MTAS. The MCA reading tests are administered each year in grades 3-8 and in grade 10.  Learn more about the MCAs and statewide assessments on the Test Administration page.

All of the ELA standards, including reading, writing, speaking, viewing, listening, media literacy and language, are also assessed at the classroom level through teacher- and district-selected assessments or by language arts curriculum publishers and national assessment organizations.

The graduation requirements for English Language Arts (ELA) include credit requirements and standards requirements. All students are required to satisfactorily complete four credits in ELA encompassing the high school academic standards. Visit the Graduation Requirements page. 

Special Projects and Initiatives
Reading Well by 3rd Grade (Minn. Stat.§ 120B.12), was revised during the 2011 legislative session and includes requirements for local school districts to post literacy plans that ensure all students are reading well by 3rd grade, data submission requirements, and local literacy aid incentives. Read more about Reading Well by 3rd Grade.

Leadership in Reading Network (LIRN) is a collaborative network that includes the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota Reading Association, and the Minnesota Center for Reading Research. The network includes district-level and schoolwide literacy leaders who support teachers and administrators in developing literacy programs based on research-based best practices. Schoolwide reading coaches, district literacy coordinators, administrators and other Minnesota educators with similar job descriptions are invited to participate. The goal of LIRN is to help school and district literacy leaders and teams build capacity for increased instructional leadership in reading.

Standards Implementation Technical Assistance

  • The ELA Standards and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects Standards offer a great context for collaborative professional development across disciplines and programs. In fact, the standards encourage cross-discipline collaboration and emphasize that common understanding of student expectations are essential to closing the achievement gap. The Standards Implementation Toolkit is an online resource for everyone involved in the implementation process. View the toolkit.