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February 2, 2005 Extra Credit
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February 2, 2005

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Reading First A Priority

The following are excerpts from an article yesterday in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel (WV) highlighting how students in Gilmer County schools are benefiting from reading programs funded by a No Child Left Behind Reading First grant:

"A grant of more than $200,000 is improving reading skills in Gilmer County schools. Lesa Hines, director of Special Services and the Reading First grant, said the three-year grant, now in its second year, is helping kindergarten through third-grade students improve their reading skills."‘Our goal is for all kindergarten through third-grade students to be at or above grade level by the end of the third grade,’ she said.

"Students are tested three times a year using an assessment tool called D.I.B.E.L.S., or Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy. The test covers five areas: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. The program appears to be working, Hines said, as students are approaching the goal of being on grade level…"

"‘This is for schools that have low test scores and high poverty rates,’ she said. ‘This program is working with 124, or 13 percent, of our students.’ Hines said the first year of the grant supplied $206,000 for the program and the second round gave the system $262,000…."

"‘Every teacher in the program was able to buy 300 books for a new library in the classroom,’ she said. ‘One hundred of the books are below grade level, 100 are at grade level and 100 are above grade level.’ Hines said the books were not part of a package they had to choose, but were selected by the individual teachers with their students in mind…."

"The classroom libraries will complement the libraries the schools have that are open to all students. Teachers have shown their dedication to making the program work, said Hines. Teachers have attended workshops in Charleston and she held workshops locally. ‘This year they all agreed they would be involved in 100 hours of staff development training,’ she said. ‘The state only requires 18 hours per year; they have gone above and beyond the call.’

"Every month children in the program will receive a book they can keep and take home. ‘By the end of the year they will have 10 books in their home libraries,’ she said. ‘They all will be hardback books on the grade level.’ After the next school year, they will reapply for a grant to keep the program running in the system…"

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 08/13/2013