SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to create uniform goals for elementary reading improvement programs was advanced Monday by the Senate Education Committee.

SB260 would amend provisions related to public school early education programs in kindergarten through third grade, as well as require the Education Interim Committee to study the reading ability of half-day kindergarten students compared with full-day students.

The bill also appropriates funds for the continued use of early intervention interactive software and other educational technologies. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St. George, said it was the first priority of the Public Education Appropriations Committee.

"I think this is a program worth continuing," Urquhart said.

The bill received a favorable recommendation in a 5-1 vote and will be sent to the Senate for debate.

The committee also voted unanimously in favor of SB258, which changes the name of Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah to Utah State University Eastern. School officials and students had been referring to the school as USU Eastern since its merger with Utah State University in 2010.

Benjamin Wood