“Truly Exciting News – Tex. HB 3 Requires K-3 Teachers To Utilize Systematic, Direct Instruction of Phonics”
By Donna Garner


I wish to thank the Texas Legislators for doing what we in the public have been begging them to do for years which is to support systematic, direct instruction of phonics.  HB 3 actually does more than we could ever have hoped.

Texas HB 3 not only requires teachers to use systematic, direct instruction of phonics in K -  3, but the bill also requires all teachers and principals in K – 3 to attend a teacher literacy achievement academy where they will be instructed in the scientific study of reading [i.e., phonemic awareness/decoding skills/phonics].  All applicants who get their teaching certificates for Pre-K through Grade 6 after Jan. 1, 2021 must demonstrate mastery on a certification exam (any class of certificate) of the scientific study of reading.  

Below are the specific words in HB 3. The Texas State Board of Education has already adopted strong phonemic awareness/decoding skills/phonics in their new English / Language Arts / Reading curriculum standards (TEKS), and the new ELAR standards are to be implemented in K-8 this coming fall with 9-12 to follow in the fall of 2020.

Because all Pre-K through Grade 6  classroom teachers (and all K-3 principals) will be instructed in the correct way to teach students to read, we will see Texas public school students make dramatic reading progress in the years to come.

HB 3 working in conjunction with the new ELAR/TEKS is a recipe for true success.

Gov. Greg Abbott has HB 3 on his desk, and we understand that he is poised to sign it at any moment.


Please go to this link and click at the top of the page where it says “Text.”  Then go to the enrolled version:  https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/Actions.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB3

PAGE 208

SECTION 2.005.  Section 21.048, Education Code, is amended by adding Subsection (a-2) to read as follows:

(a-2)  The board shall adopt rules that provide that in order to teach any grade level from prekindergarten through grade six a person must demonstrate proficiency in the science of teaching reading on a certification examination for each class of certificate issued by the board after January 1, 2021.


PAGES 218 – 219
SECTION 2.013.  Subchapter A, Chapter 28, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 28.0062 to read as follows:

Sec. 28.0062.  READING STANDARDS FOR KINDERGARTEN THROUGH THIRD GRADE.  (a)  Each school district and open-enrollment charter school shall:

(1)  provide for the use of a phonics curriculum that uses systematic direct instruction in kindergarten through third grade to ensure all students obtain necessary early literacy skills;

(2)  ensure that:

(A)  not later than the 2021-2022 school year, each classroom teacher in kindergarten or first, second, or third grade and each principal at a campus with kindergarten or first, second, or third grade has attended a teacher literacy achievement academy developed under Section 21.4552; and

(B)  each classroom teacher and each principal initially employed in a grade level or at a campus described by Paragraph (A) for the 2021-2022 school year or a subsequent school year has attended a teacher literacy achievement academy developed under Section 21.4552 before the teacher's or principal's first year of placement in that grade level or campus; and

(3)  certify to the agency that the district or school:

(A)  prioritizes placement of highly effective teachers in kindergarten through second grade; and

(B)  has integrated reading instruments used to diagnose reading development and comprehension to support each student in prekindergarten through third grade.

(b)  The agency shall provide assistance to school districts and open-enrollment charter schools in complying with the requirements under this section.

(c)  The agency shall:

(1)  monitor the implementation of this section; and

(2)  periodically report to the legislature on the implementation of this section and the effectiveness of this section in improving educational outcomes.

(d)  The commissioner shall establish an advisory board to assist the agency in fulfilling the agency's duties under this section. Chapter 2110, Government Code, does not apply to the advisory board.

(e)  The commissioner may adopt rules to implement this section.

***Please express your thanks to the Texas Legislators who wrote HB 3 and shepherded it through the legislative process to completion.  Go to the top of the page and click on “Actions” to view the various recorded votes:  https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/Actions.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB3