May 19, 2004, Extra Credit
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May 19, 2004

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All Around the Nation, Reading First Grants Are Helping Children Learn to Read

The No Child Left Behind Reading First program provides resources to help children learn to read by providing grants that support: scientifically based reading programs, materials, and strategies; professional development; valid and reliable screening; diagnostic and ongoing classroom assessments; and statewide accountability and leadership structures. The following are excerpts from various articles highlighting the positive impact of Reading First:

In Colorado: "Due to a Colorado Reading First grant, Bea Underwood Elementary in Battlement Mesa increased proficiency by 14 percent, said Rhonda Dillon, coordinator of curriculum and instruction at Garfield No. 16. Part of the ‘No Child Left Behind Act,’ the Colorado Reading First grant is a nonrenewable three-year grant given to schools for reading programs. … The Reading First program also gets parents involved, said Dillon. ‘We just had our first literacy night to encourage parent involvement,’ said Dillon. ‘About 90 percent of our parents are involved. This hasn’t happened in the past.’" (May 10, 2004).

In New Mexico: "The New Mexico Public Education Department awarded a $237,696 Reading First Grant in what Trina Valdez, director of Federal Programs for Portales schools, said will go to implement a new method to teach children to read in James Elementary, Steiner Elementary and Brown Early Childhood Center. ‘It’s cutting edge strategies for learning how to read,’ Valdez said. ‘It will help develop the best reading practices.’ The NMPED sent out a press release on May 7 announcing that 44 public schools in 17 school districts will receive $8.29 million in New Mexico Reading First Awards to improve student achievement in reading through the application of scientifically based research." Portales News-Tribune (May 11, 2004).

In Wisconsin: "Prentice School District has been notified that Tripoli School is one of 34 public schools in Wisconsin to receive a federal Reading First grant. … Some of the grant money, [$98,000 annually for three years], will be used to hire Lynn Olson as the Reading First coordinator. She already works part-time as the district's reading specialist. Under provisions of the grant, students are to receive 120 minutes a day of reading instruction to help them develop phonemic awareness, improve reading fluency, build vocabulary, and strengthen reading comprehension." Phillips Bee (May 13, 2004).

In Missouri: "The Dallas County R-1 School District has an extra $274,703 to fund reading programs, thanks to a Reading First grant from the U.S. Department of Education. … Dallas County R-1 Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tanna Wheeler is excited about what the grant will do for students. ‘The purpose is to improve literacy,’ said Wheeler. ‘To improve, specifically, reading skills in students K through three, as well as students in special education.’ The funds provided through the grant will be allocated to hire and train three teachers, or ‘literacy coaches,’ who will specialize in reading instruction. … ‘Each classroom will receive funds to have a library in their classroom with materials developmentally appropriate for children of that age,’ [Wheeler] said." Buffalo (MO) Reflex (May 11, 2004).


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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