COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. – (KSNT) Kansas Reading Roadmap helps more than 50 Kansas schools keep kids from falling behind in reading. The organization offers afterschool, summer and family programs to help kids learn critical reading skills.
Council Grove Curriculum Director Kelly Gentry said children who don’t read proficiently by fourth grade are less likely to graduate high school. She said getting a high school diploma is more important now than in the past.
“When I was in school you could not graduate or not even not graduate and not even do post secondary, and you could still have a job you could raise a family on. That’s not true anymore,” Gentry said.
Council Grove Elementary school parent Mindi Johnson saw improvements in her children’s reading and communication skills thanks to the program. She said the teaching happens outside an ordinary classroom setting and kids get more individualized attention.
“It doesn’t feel like they’re the one out of 500. It feels like they’re one-on-one,” Johnson said.
The elementary school gives students a base of 90 minutes of core reading and 60 minutes of core math. The school accesses children’s strength in those areas three times a year.
Students who struggle to read receive an extra 60 minutes of reading and math during school. The school also encourages their parents to have them participate in the Reading Roadmap program after school.
The program staff coordinate with the teachers to track student progress and plan their learning. The school’s district curriculum director said the program is based on the newest scientific information about how kids learn to read.
“It’s something that really makes a difference, and our data is showing that it makes a difference,” Gentry said.
In addition to the afterschool and summer reading programs, the Kansas Reading Roadmap’s Literacy-Integrated Family Engagement (LIFE) program works with both students and their families. The once-a-week meetings connect families with schools and help parents support their children’s reading and social emotional development.