Programs, parents key to reading boosts |

Programs, parents key to reading boosts

Ivy Vogel
Special to the Post Independent

Although Garfield County CSAP scores are lower than state averages, many schools in the county are making vast improvements. New reading programs and parental involvement are key components for student improvement.

Garfield County scored 65 percent proficient or advanced in reading while third-graders throughout the state scored 74 percent proficient or advanced, according to a state report released last Monday.

The Colorado Student Assessment Program, a test given to all Colorado public school students, compares school districts throughout the state to determine which schools are doing well and which schools need to make improvements.

Roy Moore Elementary in Silt increased proficient or advanced scores by 19 percent. The school, with overall proficiency scores of 98 percent, has the highest scores in Garfield Re-2 District.

As parents pay closer attention to their child’s education, reading scores increase, said Michele Howard Snode, whose son is a third-grader at Roy Moore.

When Roy Moore students are in first grade, parents visit classrooms so their children can read to them. The key to child development is getting all parents to take part in their child’s education, said Snode.

“It’s unfortunate that people are working so much they give up their child’s education,” Snode said. “People should give up something besides their child’s education.”

Roy Moore has the highest CSAP scores in the Re-2 district but, with only 40 students in third grade, it’s the smallest school in the district, said Theresa Hamilton, director of districtwide services for Re-2.

All other schools in Re-2 have twice as many students as Roy Moore, Hamilton said. These schools have reading programs but require more resources than Roy Moore.

Highland and Wamsley elementary schools in Rifle also have more Latino students and students on the free and reduced lunch program.

“The No. 1 thing that affects test scores nationwide is poverty,” said Hamilton.

The effect of Latino students who aren’t proficient in English on CSAPs has not been determined.

Reading coach makes a difference at Bea Underwood

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.

Twice a month, Bea Underwood students are let out of school early so teachers can sit with a reading coach. The reading coach has been with the school for almost a year and helps teachers implement new teaching methods in their classrooms. The coach discusses test-taking methods to help teachers prepare students for tests.

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.”

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