District Selects K-1 Literacy Resources

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For Immediate Release: Sept. 7, 2017

Contact: Nora Shoptaw (336) 370-8386
Media Desk (336) 574-5730

District Selects K-1 Literacy Resources
Board approves funding for American Reading Company, Core Knowledge

Greensboro, N.C. – As part of the district’s ongoing focus on improving literacy, elementary schools will use a comprehensive program for reading in grades K-1 this year. Materials will be provided through Core Knowledge Language Arts Open Education Resource later this year with plans to expand to grade 2 in 2018-19. Third grade teachers will have the option to implement American Reading Company program resources in the 2017-18 school year, with full implementation in 2018-19.

Studies show that reading ability in third grade is a strong predictor of future reading competency and the economic health of the larger community. In GCS, 67 percent of students entered kindergarten in 2013 ready to read, but by 2016, only 53 percent of third-grade students were reading on grade level. Members of the district’s curriculum task force felt a sense of urgency to implement a comprehensive curriculum, a feeling that was reinforced by the findings of the superintendent’s transition team.

“To truly make a difference in our children’s reading levels and overall academic outcomes, we must focus on the early grades,” says Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nakia Hardy. “A strong and coherent early literacy program will provide teachers with tools that will better prepare our students for success later in school and in life.”

In 2018-19, district leaders will add Core Knowledge in second grade and fully implement American Reading Company resources in third grade. Currently, the word study program Fundations is used in grades K-3 but only addresses the word study component of literacy instruction.

At the last meeting, the board also heard an update on the American Reading Company resources that are used in grades 4-9. One hundred and eleven schools chose to use the materials last year, the first year of the program.

Schools who used the program reported increased student engagement, greater use of text for research, strong teacher dialogue and collaboration and improved relationships with students during conferencing.

Teachers also mentioned challenges, including more specific professional development, earlier delivery of resources, clear alignment to standards and more time for conferencing with students to evaluate their progress. Tonight, the board approved dedicated funds for professional development and materials to address the concerns.

GCS encourages all students to read 30 minutes a day for pleasure to help grow their love of reading, vocabulary and comprehension. For more about GCS Reads 30, click here.

About Guilford County Schools
Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina, the 47th largest of more than 14,000 in the United States, and serves more than 73,000 PK-12 students at 126 schools. With approximately 10,000 employees, GCS works in partnership with parents, businesses, colleges and the community to deliver an education that connects student interests and skills with the careers and economy of our future here and around the world. We provide educational choices to meet individual student needs in a culturally diverse citizenship and new opportunities to help our students Soar to Greatness. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.gcsnc.com.

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