More motivation to read

Mar. 09, 2014 @ 08:21 PM

On Tuesday morning, the entire student body at L.B. Yancey adorned white and red striped paper hats while reading books in the hallways.

The school-wide reading celebration was part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America event, which honors Dr. Seuss’s March 2nd birthday.

“I think it’s somewhat of a tradition to celebrate Dr. Seuss, but it also breaks up the monotony of reading in the classroom,” said Assistant Principal Lanisha Daye. “It changes the setting and gets kids inspired because everyone is reading together.”

Kellye Walton, a third-grade teacher at Yancey, said the reading event helps to motivate the students.

“I think it is helpful because they get to have fun reading; they get to see other kids read; they get to see the teachers read,” she said. “It’s good because it’s motivating the students, and it’s a fun way of reading.”

At the local and state level, administrators are placing increasing emphasis on reading in the elementary schools with additional tests and requirements.

The new Read to Achieve legislation, which went into effect this school year, mandates that third-grade students demonstrate reading proficiency, otherwise they will not be promoted to the fourth grade.

Rhonda Lucas, a Yancey teacher, said she is in her first year teaching third grade.

“I’ve taught second-, fifth- and sixth-grades,” she said. “I did not realize the magnitude of what third-grade teachers have to contend with. It’s astronomical.”

Lucas said one the most time consuming assessments is the Reading 3D benchmark testing, which kindergarten to third-grade students take three times a year.

She said the benchmark testing has several components, including three one-minute assessments.

There is also a word recognition part and a comprehension section where students read a story and answer written questions.

“If they don’t pass the written component, we can’t go on to oral component,” she said. “So even if they are able to read the words of the story, if they are not comprehending, it will kick them back. That can be disheartening. I have one student that can read 144 words per minute, but the comprehension is not there. So I have to teach him how to slow down in order to be able to pay attention to what is going on in the story.”

Walton said her biggest challenge is finding time to be able to teach between all the different assessments.

“It is time consuming doing the different assessments and trying to get the students prepared for the assessments,” she said. “You don’t feel like you have enough time to prepare them and actually have time to teach.”

Like many third-grade teachers, Walton said the additional tests exacerbate the pressure she feels.

“I do feel pressure because I want them all to do well and how they do reflects on me,” she said.


Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.