POLAND — Three teachers told Regional School Unit 16 directors Monday night that a literacy coach is needed because less than half of students in grades kindergarten to two meet reading standards for their grade.

Teachers Amy Hediger, Jacque Russo and Kelly Labonte said there is an absolute need to raise the reading level for those students. They expounded on the significance of the federally funded Title 1 Literacy Program and the value that a literacy coach could bring to the district. 

“Stop the bleeding you could say, like as early as we possibly can,” Labonte said.

The 351 students in grades K-2 were recently screened for their reading skills. Ideally 80 percent of them should have met standards for their grade level. Instead, only 20 percent from kindergarten, 19 percent from grade 1 and 45 percent from grade 2 met the respective standards.

Labonte said research shows, “If by grade one they are not proficient” at reading, “their reading difficulties will last their whole life.”

The Title I Literacy Program provides help for struggling readers. The classroom teacher, Title 1 teacher and reading tutor work together to formulate a lesson plan designed for each student.

Specialized instruction for children and a literary coach for the district to work with teachers are needed, the teachers said.

Russo, who was a literacy coach for several years, said such “instruction is relative and pertinent to what the children need.” The literacy coach would work with teachers, interacting with students in academic subjects, not just reading.

In other business Director of Operations Craig Worth introduced Fred Barlow, the newly hired transportation director.


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