High school reading intervention shows early results

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Programs to increase success in reading and English-Language Arts was the focus of Thursday’s Murray County Board of Education work

Reading intervention presentation for the Murray County Board of Education

Ann Childers, left, and Jocelyn Johnson speak to the Murray County BOE about reading intervention at Thursday’s work session while Aaron Phillips, board member, looks on.

session. The regular meeting is Monday, January 13, at 6 p.m. at 1006 Green Road, Chatsworth.

A program to help struggling ninth- and tenth-grade students at Murray High School and North Murray High School started two years ago is showing success, according to those teaching in the program.

Ann Childers and Jocelyn Johnson, from Murray and North Murray high schools, respectively, talked about the program which consists of five parts: student population, focus on reading, RESA coaching, remediation, and MAPS growth. RESA, Regional Education Service Agency, provides coaching for the teachers in this program, coming in monthly to observe and offer strategies to help.

The smaller class size is great, said Childers, who has a class of 18, compared to 28 in the regular English literature class.

“We are teaching the same standards as in the regular (English-Language Arts) classes, but we are fortunate that we have some freedom to do new things,” said Childers.

Reading “high-interest” books means success

One of those is focusing on reading novels and other “high interest” materials, said Childers.

“Some of our students become so interested in the story, they read other books by the same author,” said Childers. “One student wanted a list of all the books one author wrote so he could ask for them for Christmas.”

But it isn’t just recreational reading that is improving. Johnson pointed out that the students are making strides academically as a result.

She stated that 17-percent of her students passed the End of Course tests where as previously, they never passed before. Sixty-five percent showed a three-percent lexile growth.

In MAPS testing, 92% showed growth in English-Language Arts.

“They are able to catch up and compete with their peers,” she said.

“We’re excited, but more importantly, the students are excited,” said Childers.

Superintendent Steve Loughridge voiced his praise for the program. “It’s great at what you’ve been able to do in a short time. We didn’t have this program two years ago,” he said.

In other BOE news:

The State of the Schools Address will be Tuesday, February 11, at Woodlawn Elementary, 4580 Highway 225 North, Chatsworth. Dinner is at 5 p.m. and the address starts at 5:30.

Loughridge said he will clarify the training pay for the Board of Education. He explained that training held within the district does not pay, but if training is outside the district, it will pay the same as the board meetings.


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