The Times West Virginian


November 15, 2013

Shift from learning to read to reading to learn key milestone for young students

Think about the number of times you read throughout the course of a day.

Sure, you’re reading these words right now. But think about all the other times you’ll look at a group of what otherwise would just be a jumble of letters and actually comprehend what they mean: a menu while you’re having lunch; a text message from your son or daughter; emails at work; instructions to put together a new toy for your grandchild.

Now think about how difficult those tasks would be if you couldn’t read.

Reading is a vital skill. It’s also one that, if taught at an early age, research shows will have lasting benefits.

That’s what makes West Virginia’s decision to join the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading so important.

On Wednesday, the West Virginia Board of Education approved the state’s participation in the program, which is a national initiative that focuses on ensuring that children in low-income families are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

It was a smart move, especially considering that a recent West Virginia KIDS COUNT report found that seven in 10 children can’t read proficiently by the end of third grade. It said three-fourths of those children will remain poor readers throughout high school, and one in six won’t graduate.

Participating in the campaign is also in line with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s education goals, which include having all third-graders finish that year reading at grade level.

Campaigns like this one are working to do just that.

As the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading states on its website, “Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn, and to master the more complex subject matter they encounter in the fourth grade curriculum. Most students who fail to reach this critical milestone falter in the later grades and often drop out before earning a high school diploma. Yet two-thirds of U.S. fourth-graders are not proficient readers, according to national reading assessment data.”

State education leaders are taking the steps to ensure our students are stronger readers, and we hope the state’s application to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is approved, which would mean West Virginia would be one of only three states to implement the policy across all school districts statewide.

The state’s participation will help prepare third-graders not just for their next steps academically, but will help set them up for even more success — not only in the classroom, but in their future careers.

As West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin pointed out, one of the most important factors in student success is the ability to read.

“A 2011 study documented the impact of reading proficiency on staying in school. Ninety-six percent of students who were proficient in reading in third grade graduated from high school,” Manchin said in a news release. “Reading proficiency is also linked to student self-esteem and disciplinary action which indirectly shapes educational achievement.”

We can’t stress enough just how important reading is, and any campaign designed to help students become more proficient readers is something worth pursuing.

Text Only
  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

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