Monday, June 25, 2007

At Phoenix school, reading, if not test scores, is its own reward

A nice story about kids who are learning to read, not quite to school standards yet, but definitely improving. DP

By Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic Three years ago, The Arizona Republic launched a partnership with Creighton school in hopes of raising its students' reading scores. With the help of their teachers and tutors from the newspaper, the students made huge strides improving their reading scores.

But for all their work, the majority of the children still aren't reading at grade level.

Still, everyone involved says that the project was worth it, that you have to look beyond the data and into the classrooms. They shared their stories in the final days of school in May.

"When I came to kindergarten, I didn't speak English, so I couldn't understand what the teacher was saying," says Juan Sotelo, now 10.

But he says he dreamed of learning to read, hugging books borrowed from the library to his chest.

He discovered that letters make sounds, and together those sounds make words, in first grade.

"It seems like a long time ago now," Juan says. "It was a lot of work. Sometimes I got tired."

Now at the end of third grade at Creighton Elementary School, Juan reads 94 words per minute. It's shy of the 120-word expectation for third-graders, but Juan is a confident reader and getting better all the time. He began the school year reading 57 words per minute.

Now he's in a top reading group working on comprehension, understanding what he reads.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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