September 14, 2004
Chandler teachers will be trained to use new national techniques to better screen students for reading problems.
The governing board of the Chandler Unified School District on Sept. 8 approved spending $200,000 a year for the Reading First teachertraining program.
The federal program is already in many Arizona school districts, including the Tempe Elementary School District, and some Chandler schools have already received training.
Through the program, students are taught comprehension, vocabulary and phonics, and then routinely tested either by reading aloud or on paper. They are grouped with other students who are struggling in the same areas.
"Our ultimate goal is every student reading on grade level," said Susan Eissinger, director of ensure all children, regardless of race or socioeconomics, learn reading, writing and math.
The program is based on recommendations made by the National Reading Panel’s review of instructional education.
Chandler governing board member Bob Rice urged the district to review whether the Reading First program works and is wo rth the money that could otherwise research on the best ways to teach children to read, completed in 2000 when the federal No Child Left Behind Law was launched. The law seeks to be spent in other educational programs, when the district considers annual renewals of its fiveyear contract with Con-nect, the company providing the training.
"I’d like feedback on whether this is moving us in the right direction," he said.
Board member Karen Clark said she is confident the program will be vital in improving education in Chandler schools.
"I’ve been in and out of education and I’ve trained teachers," Clark said. "To me, this is a no-brainer."
Eissinger said eventually the federal government may mandate all schools follow the Reading First program.