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Learning to Read With Reading First

Teachers at Creekside Park Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska, began to see a big difference in their students' ability to read after introducing Reading First, the federal reading instruction program. Included: Examples of student reading gains.

The federal program Reading First is making a difference in some elementary schools in Alaska.

"Only one of Mary Beth Verhelst's kindergarten students tested at grade level when the school year started at Creekside Park Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska," according to a story in the Anchorage Daily News.

"But something new is happening," the story continued.

"It's called Reading First, an aggressive federal program built on solid research about how children really learn to read. Now, six months into the school year, only five of Verhelst's students still are reading below grade level. The rest are at or above. And Creekside staffers give Reading First the credit," the article noted.

" 'It's a lot of work but it's very much worth it,' Verhelst said in the story. 'It's worth it when you see those eyes of that child and you know they get it.'"

"At Creekside, the kindergartners will finish the year reading," the story noted. "Last year, nearly 75 percent of Creekside's students tested proficient on spring reading tests -- up from 64 percent the previous year..."

According to the article, "Three years ago, Reading First was being used in five states. Now it's spreading wildly across the country..."


Some of the information in this article comes from the U.S. Department of Education. To learn more about this article, you might read:

  • ABCs of reading
    This news article appeared in the Anchorage Daily News on March 19, 2006. 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.

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