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Reading on level can become the norm in West Virginia

Updated: Feb 1, 2020

Did you know that in West Virginia many our graduating seniors cannot even read their high school diplomas? This is an area where we as educators can and must improve. At West Virginia Academy, a key priority will be ensuring that, in the absence of disabilities, all students are reading at grade-level or higher at all times throughout their primary education.

According to the National Reading Panel, systematic and explicit instruction is needed to successfully teach reading. An individual tends to follow the same stages of reading. These stages are:

1. Pre-reading

2. Beginning Reading

3. Primary

4. Intermediate

The Pre-Reading Stage is the time before children begin school, when they are first exposed to language and learn to understand and use spoken words. The primary source of language at this time is in the home. Each child entering school comes with various pre-reading knowledge.

The Beginning Reading Stage is when an individual begins to "break the code," or learn the relationship between letters and the sounds they represent. They, then, learn to apply this "code" to read words. This stage is CRITICAL and time-sensitive. Research shows that "Children who do not make major steps in breaking the code by the end of first grade are greatly at risk of encountering ongoing frustration and failure in upper grades. This is the reason we will have a highly structured and explicit reading program in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Does this mean all hope is lost? No, for children who enter school with limited literacy knowledge the instruction in reading must be systematic and explicit to get them up to grade level. This reading remediation will occur after-school as well as during the summer if needed.

We have searched through the best literacy practices and will implement a program that has had consistently achieved superior reading outcomes. We will be implementing the Reading Mastery program for our K - 3 grades as well as with students in higher grades that are not reading at their appropriate grade level.

At West Virginia Academy we know how important reading skills are for the future of our students and we hope to become a place where reading at grade level is the norm, not the exception.

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