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Read early and often
Extra reading programs works
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Great Bend elementary schools are part of the Kansas Reading Roadmap, a program of after-school reading interventions to help children with early reading proficiency. That program continues during summer school.

Now, a study commissioned by the Reading Roadmap suggests programs such as this can lead to significant improvement among young, striving readers.

“When a child enters kindergarten, it’s a four-year race for her to learn how to read,” said Andrew Hysell, RR director. “If she cannot achieve early reading proficiency by the third grade, she will face barriers for the rest of her life.” 

Reading Roadmap provides a structured after-school reading program supporting children from preschool through grade 3. The model aligns with school-tiered systems of support and provides reading interventions in the five pillars of early literacy: phenomic awareness (the ability to hear, identify and manipulate individual sounds), phonics (correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters), fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

“School-based after-school reading intervention is literally their only lifeline,” said Hysell. “The evidence continues to pile up that after-school programs can be an effective delivery device for high-quality reading interventions for children that need them.”

This month, summer school in Great Bend runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for children who have finished kindergarten through fifth grade. Approximately 291 students are attending K-3 summer school and 165 are attending 4-5 summer school. The district offers a free breakfast and lunch for the students, and weekly field trips or activities on Fridays keeps them excited and interested in coming, according to Assistant Superintendent John Popp.

“It’s reading; it’s math. It’s fun, too,” Popp told the school board this week.

Tomorrow's leaders, scientists and artists must all be lifelong learners. If they fall behind at an early age, the studies show they can catch up with extra help. If we fail to provide that help, everyone will lose.