January 27, 2011

Reading of royal importance

By Michael Johnson, Editor

The trumpets were sounding as Princess Shelbey Ell walked the red carpet through the crowds of children. Taking her seat at the throne, she adjusted her crown while looking down at the group. Everyone was watching and waiting for the moment they had all gathered for. The moment when the princess would read from her book. This isn’t some Medieval tale from years ago. This is a weekly occurrence in Mr. Jeremy Holkup’s second-grade classroom at Wilton School. It’s a technique that looks at ways to engage students into enjoying reading. And it’s just one of many tools that could help students meet the mandated proficiency level in reading at the school. As required by the No Child Left Behind Act, students are to reach 100 percent proficiency in reading and math. In fact, fourth graders are expected to be at 91 percent proficiency this year. Last year in Wilton the school made proficiency but it was at 82 percent. They did not make it the year before. That puts the school on an improvement period where they must implement new ways to bring those scores up. No place is more important than in reading, elementary teachers at Wilton say. That’s why they have increased the focus of reading more than in the past. Holkup stops the CD player once Shelbey takes a seat and the music stops. A hush falls over the crowd as she starts to read from a big book with illustrations large enough for the whole group of kindergarteners to see.

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