LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss (WCBI)- According to state tests, almost half of all third graders are not reading as well as they should for their age.
Governor Phil Bryant signed a new law this year that requires third graders to be proficient in reading before being promoted to the fourth grade. This puts more pressure on the teachers of kindergarten, first, and second graders to have their students ready by the time they reach the third grade.
To make improvements now, school districts across the state are trying new techniques to improve the way they link reading to every subject. Lowndes County school teachers are training on the Sonday Reading program which can be implemented as early as kindergarten. The purpose of the Sonday system is to teach students using multiple senses.
Barbara McNeil of Windsor Learning said, “If we do not engage students in the K-3 realm and help them to become successful readers, the further they go in grade level, the more difficult it is for them to access the content.”
Assistant Superintendent, Robin Ballard, said the district has already tested the program and seen its benefits.
“This child was not making any progress towards his goal and so we switched him over as soon as we started piloting the program last year, and, as soon as that happened, his goal line, his trend line, just started going really high up, so we saw that it was an effective program, ” recalls Ballard.
The Third Grade Gateway law will take effect for the 2014-2015 school year and was part of several bills approved by the Legislature this year to raise achievement and accountability among state schools.