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December 10, 2003, Extra Credit
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December 10, 2003
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In Tennessee, Reading First Expected To Have "A Tremendous Impact On Student Achievement And On Teachers"

The No Child Left Behind Reading First program provides grants to help schools and local school districts improve children's reading achievement through scientifically proven methods of instruction. Following are excerpts from a recent article in the Tennessean discussing the impact the program is expected to have in Tennessee schools:

"Students in schools with the highest poverty and the lowest reading scores may soon have help getting up to par on their ABCs. Educators in dozens of elementary schools recently applied for federal grants to pay for staff, training and materials needed to boost reading scores. 'This will change reading instruction in Tennessee,' said Jim Herman, director of Reading First in Tennessee, which will dole out $111 million in the next six years. 'The overall goal is to have all children reading on grade level or above by third grade.'"

"'Everything must have an impact on the classroom and the children,' Herman said. 'To include anything in their grant proposal, it has to be scientifically research-based and tested.' The new program has a greater emphasis on training teachers in effective ways to teach reading and more closely monitoring their progress every year. 'There are going to be more frequent assessments so that year after year we're going to have to do a really good job,' said Terry Hampton, who writes grants for Wayne County schools, about 85 miles southwest of Nashville. 'It will have a tremendous impact on student achievement and on teachers.'"

"Educators in some schools contend that intense training for teachers will make a big difference. 'Right now, our teachers are using a variety of different materials,' said Charlene Alsup, supervisor of elementary instruction in Weakley County, who applied for a grant. 'We know that reading is the most essential thing students need to learn. It's the foundation of everything they do.'"

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Last Modified: 01/29/2008