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Literacy Specialists Key to Third Grade Reading Guarantee
DAYTON -- Right now, Ohio schools are focusing more than ever on reading. Next school year, kids who are not reading at a certain level will not move on to the fourth grade. Dayton, the largest school system in the Miami Valley, has been prepping for 1st and 2nd graders for two years now.
In Mrs. Huston's 2nd grade glass at Fairmont Elementary, reading takes up a big chunk of the day for the young minds.
The format does not matter for a young girl names Kapatessi, she just loves to read.
"Pictures to see about the sentence so you don't get confused, what it's about," said the second grader, who loves folk tales.
The class is reading about Astronauts this time, and they are divided into groups based on their skill levels.
"I have kids in the second grade who came in maybe reading 20 words a minute, now they're reading 100 words a minute. And it's just so rewarding. And it's so exciting to see them to where they were behind, and now they're ready for third grade," said Leslie Mitchell, a literacy specialist.
Next year, this class cannot enter into fourth grade until they pass a test, proving they are reading at an advanced enough level. The new state law known as the "Third grade reading guarantee" has made literacy specialists like Leslie Mitchell essential in school systems.
MItchell says Dayton Public Schools have been prepping for two years now, and their kids will be ready. At the start of the year, each kid is evaluated from phonics to comprehension, and they each get a plan. The teachers or the specialists work one on one with a child if need be.
"We monitor them monthly to make sure they're making the growth that they need and if not, we can go back and change that plan a little bit to make sure they're getting what they need," said Mitchell.
Once Summer vacation begins, teachers and literacy specialists worry that the kids will lose some of the skills they have been working hard on; and that is where the parents come in.
"Taking them to the library, picking up books every week, Again, continuing to make sure they're engaged in literacy activities. And we send things home over the Summer, games and books and things that they can do to keep those skills up," said Mitchell.
Kapatessi's already on board with this plan telling us, "I learn that you should read more books, instead of sitting around watching TV."
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