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Reading Scores Rapid Rise

With the help of a $1.8 million grant and the hard work of teachers, a new reading curriculum was developed for three elementary schools in Tempe, Arizona, and reading scores have soared.

Tempe (Arizona) Elementary School District officials say they are excited about the results of a grant that gave three elementary schools tools to rework the reading curriculum. Officials say that new curriculum resulted in students, particularly kindergartners, showing pronounced improvement in their reading. About 50 percent more students were reading at grade level this spring than last fall."

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Arizona awarded the three-year, $1.8 million grant to Curry, Evans, and Laird elementary schools last year, according to The Arizona Republic. The grant provided a reading curriculum for students in kindergarten through third grade, funds for teacher development and tools with which schools were able to evaluate the progress of their students, according to Lois Whisiker-Williams, language arts coordinator for the district.

"The Reading First grant enabled Tempe teachers to work together to enhance their knowledge of how best to teach reading," Whisiker-Williams said. "Instead of the book guiding your reading, you're on the cutting edge of what the child knows," she said.

Whisiker-Williams said more children had achieved the reading level set by the program at the end of the year than at the beginning. And, she said, students learned additional skills during the year. Tempe's other 15 schools will benefit, as well, she said. Administrators and teachers were so impressed by the results of the grant that they will adopt the same curriculum in the other elementary schools this fall.


Information for this article comes from the Department of Education. To learn more about this article, you might read:

  • Grant aids kids' reading scores
    This news article appeared in the The Arizona Republic on July 1, 2004. Note: This link was live at the time of publication. Some newspaper Web sites require registration. Others retain complete news stories for a limited time.