Routt County Four Routt County elementary schools are now part of an extensive state program aimed at boosting reading comprehension levels in second- and third-graders.
The Colorado Department of Education awarded "Read to Achieve" grants to Soda Creek, Strawberry Park, Hayden and South Routt Elementary in compliance with Gov. Bill Owens' "Every Child Will Read" program.
"Our goal is to have 100 percent of the kids reading at their grade level," said John DeVincentis, principal at Strawberry Park. "One-on-one reading, with help, creates successful readers."
At Soda Creek and the other elementary schools, teachers, below average student readers and their parents confer to create "individual literacy plans," as the state requires. Summer school, extra reading attention in the classroom or after-school practice with parents are all different strategies outlined in the plans. Each plan is molded to a student's level of reading comprehension.
The amount of money received at each school is based on the number of students on individual learning plans. Each school was given about $1,100 for each of those students.
What the grants will pay for also is specific to each school.
Soda Creek and Strawberry Park are focusing on teacher training, as well as in-class reading programs and leveled reading material.
South Routt also will implement new programs for the children and provide reading material, but will not focus on teacher training.
Troy Zabel, principal at South Routt Elementary School, said one of the programs his school will implement will flood classrooms with trained adults. They will help with small reading groups that focus on shared reading and writing, guided reading and interactive writing.
"Our teachers do a fabulous job with their techniques, but some kids need a new delivery," Zabel said. "Now we need to change the way we structure that delivery."
Cherryl Sage, Soda Creek principal, said there is a particular way to teach reading from kindergarten to second grade. If students are not learning to read as expected, then new tactics need to be integrated. With that in mind, the grants will provide special linguistic programs and accelerated reading programs.
"If students are not proficient readers by the second or third grade," she said. "They will not be comfortable with reading as they grow older."