Literacy department looks to get books in students’ hands

first_img WhatsApp Facebook WhatsApp By Digital AIM Web Support – February 24, 2021 Twitter Literacy department looks to get books in students’ hands Pinterest Looking for ways to increase literacy in Ector County Independent School District has led Director of Literacy Jaime Miller to create the Literacy Action Council. The council is a group of ECISD employees and community members who have come together with a common goal of raising awareness of literacy concerns and finding ways to get students reading on grade level. The group had its first meeting in March with about 25 people attending. Miller said many ideas were discussed from churches hosting book drives to writing a grant for a book vending machine. The Education Foundation commissioned a curriculum audit by WLK Educational Consultants that focused on kindergarten through third grade English Language Arts. Interim Superintendent Jim Nelson knows the consultants in WLK and organized a presentation to the board in November 2017. “The new Literacy Council, led by Jaime Miller, is a key component of our district-wide effort to improve literacy and reading instruction in ECISD,” Interim Superintendent Jim Nelson said. “Going back to the WLK report, it was clear a number of steps needed to be taken. This council will bring together key stakeholders into that conversation and serve as a wonderful clearing house for our improvement efforts. Mrs. Miller has proven to be an exceptional leader of this effort. This council and the other steps we are taking to improve literacy will pay huge dividends for thousands of ECISD students.” The council will meet quarterly with the next gathering coming in September. “Most of our kids are going to come back and work in our community and we want our kids to be successful. And every kid deserves to have that right to be a good reader and have the opportunity to go and do whatever they want to do,” Miller said. The literacy department has three staff members, including Miller, who cover 42 campuses. Miller told the council about last year’s STAAR scores and let them know there wasn’t a clear concise phonics program. However, she said that has been worked on and it is being fixed and phonics will now be taught the same way in grades kindergarten through fifth. Teachers will have continuous training on it. She added that the literacy department also is writing a literacy action plan so that every principal, teacher and student knows what’s expected in reading. “That’s not to tell the teachers what to do … but it’s letting them know the resources that we have, the resources they use for frameworks that will benefit their students,” Miller said. Many students do not have books at home, especially when parents have to work multiple jobs to keep up. “If I’m a single mother, rent is high here so if I’m working three jobs and I have the choice do I put food on my table, or do I buy my kid a book? What am going to do? I’m going to put food on my kid’s table and keep a roof over their head, so books may not be a priority. …,” Miller said. She said someone suggested getting every student in the district a library card. “But even the research shows that having them in the home and it being their book leads to success, no matter what their economic status is. … The more books you have, the better you’re going to do in life,” Miller said. There is a literacy program called Bookworms through the Education Foundation that provides books for prekindergarten through first grade students. But older students need to be turned on to reading, as does the community, she said. “Every subject has reading in it,” Miller added. The main item is getting students to read on grade level by third grade. “If we can get them by third grade, that’s a huge accomplishment,” she said. English language learners and the bilingual and special education departments are being included in the literacy plan. “We’re not working in silos. We’re working as a team,” Miller said.center_img TAGS  Twitter Facebook Pinterest Previous article041619_OHS_LEE_03Next article043019_Peaceful_Protest_JF_03 Digital AIM Web Support Local Newslast_img

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