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      SC Panel working on ways to improve literacy

      Studies show that if students aren't reading on grade level by third grade, they are far less likely to graduate.

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Increasing the time students spend reading and writing, expanding classroom libraries, and requiring more teacher training are among ideas a state panel is considering for boosting the reading skills of South Carolina students.

      The panel led by state Superintendent Mick Zais met Monday for the fourth time. The two dozen members are to make recommendations on improving literacy to put more students on a successful path to graduation and beyond.

      Legislators have asked for a report by Jan. 15.

      Last year, one-third of fourth graders tested below basic in reading, meaning they're not at all prepared for the next grade in that subject.

      The panel is focusing on the early years. Studies show that if students aren't reading on grade level by third grade, they're far less likely to graduate.

      (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)