Elgin Foundation representative Linda Vincent told the Bell County Board of Education Monday night that progress has been recorded on the foundation’s reading initiative in the district’s schools, but more work remains to be done.
The reading initiative is a program focused on improving reading skills. It is designed to make structural changes within schools through priorities, curriculum, training, use of time, assessment and data. The focus is to ensure that 90 percent of students read on grade level by the end of their third-grade year.
The initiative also includes eight other school districts including Middlesboro, Clay County, Laurel County, Leslie County, Pineville, Tazewell (Virginia), Buchanan and Oneida, Tenn.
According to the data given at the meeting, 40 percent of Bell County kindergarten through third-grade students are reading on grade level. Within the district, Bell Central leads the way with 48 percent of their students reading on grade level, with Lone Jack close behind with 47 percent.
Yellow Creek School Center has 39 percent of students reading on grade level, while Frakes has 36 percent on grade level. Page and Right Fork each have 35 percent of their student or lower reading on grade level.
The data states Yellow Creek has the most kindergarten students reading on grade level with 51 percent.
When it comes to first grade, Lone Jack has the most students reading on grade level with 52 percent.
In second grade, two schools in the district have 50 percent of their students at grade level. Frakes has 61 percent. Bell Central has 58 percent.
Bell Central leads the way at the third-grade level with 68 percent of the students reading at grade level. Lone Jack broke the 50 percent mark with 52 percent.
One focus for the district and the Elgin Foundation is to diminish the amount of reading skills lost during summer months when school is not in session. The district as a whole lost 15 percent of reading attainment over the summer.
Right Fork had the largest amount of loss over the summer months, with 37 percent difference between the number of students that were reading on level before summer break and the number of students reading on level after the break.
Yellow Creek had the least amount of summer loss with six percent.
One suggestion made by Vincent was the use of are Bible Schools. Vincent said in other school districts, churches have decided to have one Bible school after the other to keep students active throughout the summer.
She suggested this promotes summer reading, helping prevent skill loss.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at email@example.com or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 208.