TULSA, Okla. - At Lanier Elementary School, all third-graders passed the state reading test. Principal Robert Morris attributes the success to hard work, quality teachers and the Literacy First reading program, which was cut by the state in 2008.
“It was some of the best training that we've ever had,” Morris said. “That I've ever experience and some teachers expressed the same sentiment."
The program was first offered through a state grant, but budget shortfalls canceled it out. It cost thousands of dollars to send teachers for Literacy First training. Morris still sends a few of his teachers for it.
“It's worth every penny and more,” he said. “Quite frankly I couldn't put a dollar value on it.”
Kathy Nowlin was the former Literacy Resource Specialist for the programs at Lanier. She got the training and explains how it works.
“You basically test the kids, and you only teach the skills that are needed for each child, instead of teaching the whole class every skill,” Nowlin said.
Students are separated into groups based on what they need to learn. Those who master the reading skills move on to another group.
“Back in the old days you taught whole grou,p and it was everybody, you hoped was learning,” she said. “But you didn't really know.
“When you're testing each individual child and basing their learning on what they need then you know that you're teaching them what they need to know,” she adds.
Roughly eight Title I Tulsa Public Schools are incorporating Literacy First, along with other new programs, into their lessons.