Gone are the days when textbook characters Mike, Jeff and Mary and their dog Spot helped students learn the gift of reading, comprehension, and words.
This week, elementary school teachers in Ohio County schools gathered to begin preparing a new reading program that will be implemented throughout the school district from Kindergarten to Grade 5.
Great Minds’ âWit and Wisdomâ reading program will be used by the district, and students and teachers will be able to choose from the thousands of printed reading materials provided. Not only are reading books included, but picture books, short stories, magazine articles and even novels for older children.
Every six years, the West Virginia Department of Education requires school districts to adopt a reading program, said Raquel McLeod, director of student services for Ohio County schools.
âWe choose a series that best meets our needs,â she said. “‘Wit and Wisdom’ is developed around nine week modules with an underlying theme, and it is based on the science of reading.”
The science of reading has been the subject of extensive research in recent years, McLeod said.
âIt emphasizes the arts and humanities in the courses,â she said. “The program is designed to reach the parts of the brain responsible for the development of reading, and it uses many evidence-based best practices.”
Fiction and non-fiction works are included in the program, as are informational texts.
Students are also expected to write after reading, and the program focuses on different types of writing – including persuasive, informative, and argumentative writing. Educators know that before students can excel in math and science, they must be able to read and write well.
âThey have to have the basics and the phonic awareness,â McLeod said. âThe new series that we are implementing fits into our phonetics program called Fundations. We ensure that students have phonetic awareness, which will lead to better comprehension skills.
âReading is the foundation of math and science. If you can’t read, you can’t do math problems, and you can’t keep doing things with science. Reading is fundamental for all subjects, âshe said.