Schools to apply reading plan this year

Published 11:15 pm Friday, August 12, 2011

School officials will roll out a new plan this school year to improve and balance reading and writing skills in the division’s elementary schools.

Elementary schools coordinator Pamela Connor introduced the Comprehensive Balanced Literacy Plan that covers new strategies for both students and teachers to improve reading levels at Thursday’s School Board meeting.

Connor told the School Board she thinks the plan will help the schools meet reading and writing standards.

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“This is the direction we need to go,” she said. “I truly believe that this is going to make a difference.”

Connor said the committee that worked on the reading plan realized that there was a need for consistency throughout the division with curriculum and remediation methods.

“With 12 elementary schools, you need this consistency,” she said. “Every teacher deserves and needs this consistency.”

One of the main focuses of the plan is to improve guided reading time for students who are not reading on grade level.

Connor said teachers will receive a resource-training guide before school starts to help them develop their plan for guided reading.

She said the guide will provide the “what is” and “how to” for guided reading, so teachers can ensure they are addressing the specific needs of each student.

Also, the plan calls for each school to have 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading or language arts during the day and additional testing at the beginning of the year to pinpoint the students who need the most help.

“The test is absolutely essential to learn, ‘What do they know, what do they need to know and where do we need to go,’” Connor said.

Additionally, she said, parents need to be a part of improving their children’s reading, too, by encouraging them at home.

“Let them read, read, read,” she said. “It’s the best way to improve.”