“A student who can’t read on grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time.”
Two years ago this statement was hanging over the heads of the Forks Elementary School administration and staff, as reading tests showed that many FES students were not keeping up.
Principal Rob Shadle says that a reading program was brought to his attention by a staff member and now two years later the proof is in the reading. Almost all students are now reading at grade level or above and the few that are lagging don’t have far to go to catch up.
The results have been so good that last week, on Monday and Tuesday, staff from The American Reading Company, from King of Prussia, Pa., came all the way to Forks to film Forks readers. The film will be edited and used in training for teachers in other schools to show how the curriculum works.
The staff members said they were just blown away by how excited the Forks students were to learn. Filming went on in several classrooms for both days. Some filming showed teachers and staff reading to the children and in another room students were individually interviewed about what books they had read.
During the interview, charts of words were used based on reading level and the student was asked to come up with synonyms for the words. The exercise works to expand vocabulary.
Mia Aceves, grade two, told her interviewer that she enjoyed mystery books, “Because I like to see what will happen next.” Mia also told of her studies and research as a meteorologist and a marine biologist and she knew a thing or two about jellyfish and tornados!
Shadle said, “The company was so impressed with the students here they came to film, it’s a big deal they chose Forks.”
Superintendent Diana Reaume said, “I am so impressed with the level of enthusiasm and learning. The enthusiasm bleeds over to staff!” The reading program is designed for students in kindergarten through third grade.