BMS joins state Reading Initiative

Published 1:27 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Brewton Middle School will join just 12 other middle schools in the state this year in the Alabama Reading Initiative.
Teachers and administrators are in training this week in Montgomery on the program, which is a statewide initiative designed to improve reading instruction.
Brewton Elementary School was among the first to implement the ARI program several years ago.
The program is now focusing on middle school students to continue the improvements made at the lower grade levels, Smith said.
Often even children who read at grade level in elementary school can slip when they reach middle school because their attention is pulled away from reading into other activities, Smith said.
Research shows an excellent middle school reader is reading 5 million words per year, Smith said. Those who are struggling might read only 150,000 to 200,000 words per year.
That's the gap the Alabama Reading Initiative is trying to narrow.
The program requires the initial teacher training as well as a reading coach employed at the school.
Schools taking part in ARI also have a two-hour language arts block in the morning.
Smith said that practice has already been in place at Brewton Middle School for the fifth and sixth grades.
Teachers have been asking about joining the ARI, Smith said.
Reading improvement won't happen overnight, Smith said.
But Smith said he is confident the program will improve students' reading abilities and their test scores.

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