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What is JCPS Doing to Improve Literacy? A WFPL Education News Special on Monday


The ability to read has been called the new civil right.

Reading and literacy are the most important skills a child learns in early education. But less than half of Jefferson County Public Schools students are proficient in reading, according to Kentucky’s accountability system, and some have argued the public school system too easily passes along students who can’t read at grade-level.Join us Monday at 1 p.m. when we discuss literacy and reading in our public schools. We'll be taking calls at (502) 814-TALK.We’ll be joined by Gwen Snow, associate principal of Newcomer Academy, an ESL program that serves a growing immigrant student population. Also, Maria Carrico, the district’s Extended School Services coordinator who oversees the services for low-performing readers. And Dr. Robert Cooter, dean of Bellarmine’s School of Education.Several states have also passed laws allowing schools to hold back third-grade students who can't read at grade level.JCPS—like districts nationwide—is implementing research-based initiatives to help more students read on grade level. This includes one-on-one interventions, new online programs and classrooms dedicated just to reading. Are our schools passing students along who can’t read at grade-level too easily? How does a school or teacher connect with a student who isn’t motivated to read?Here's some background to some of the issues being talked about at the national level.Experts say motivation is one of the most important drivers to improving literacy for children. If a child is unwilling or unmotivated to read, the teacher’s job becomes harder. Other studies show teens and young adults are reading less often and for shorter amounts of time than other age groups and Americans in past.Studies also show:

  • Females have a higher reading motivation than males
  • Motivation to read decreases with age, with declines beginning at or below fourth grade.

In the 2004 report “Reading At Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America” it concluded: “Americans are spending less time reading, reading comprehension skills are eroding and these declines have serious civic, social, cultural, and economic implications.”