N.D. program helps fix our state’s literacy gap

Good Day Dakota

According to recent state numbers, 53-percent of North Dakota 3rd graders are not proficient in reading. One program is trying to close that gap.

Over the past 10 years the Reading Corps program has been able to help over 65-hundred North Dakota students.

Studies show if your child isn’t reading at the appropriate level by 3rd grade they are less likely to graduate from high school. That’s where Reading Corps comes in.

Reading Corps Tutor, Bruce Korte says, “The first few years is learn to read and then read to learn. And that’s what we try to do. We try to get them up to speed by the time they are third graders.”

Just 20 minutes, 5 days a week. That is all it takes to make a difference in a child’s reading.

“With Reading Corps or what I call graduate from me, their reading level has become good. I mean even the teachers tell me they have excelled in the classroom,” says Korte.

Recent numbers show 2nd and 3rd-grade students served by the Reading Corps program outperformed their peers by 68 points on district reading assessments.

N.D. Reading Corps Program Coordinator and Coach Lindsey Phillips says, “We did a study in North Dakota last year and we had 99 students who used Reading Corp services and 99 students who did not–starting at the same place in the fall and the gap grew. The students from Reading Corps outpassed the students not in Reading Corps and it was equivalent to 18 additional weeks for those students.”

The program works directly with kindergarden to 3rd grade students, and teaches them a variety of techniques.

“In Kindergarten we usually go through letter sounds and in 1st grade we did what I just did with Piper, we go through blending words and then we will do some phonemics with them and we also do some curricular based reading with them. In other words, we do stories and that’s usually for the 2nd and 3rd graders,” says Korte.

Although many schools have their own ways of helping students struggling with reading, there aren’t always enough resources for every student. That’s why Reading Corps exists.

“I think a lot of students really struggle with self-confidence and being in an environment where you are one on one in a safe spot where it’s ok to make mistakes. They gain that self-confidence and then can build their skills from there,” says Phillips.

This program is available all throughout the state and they are trying to reach even more schools to help. N.D. Reading Corps is looking for more volunteers right now and its a very simple process to go through.

Weekly scores for Reading Corps students showed a 77-percent weekly growth rate above their grade level target. There is a small fee to have the program at your school, but all you have to do is send in an application to get started.

If you are interested or just want more information, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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