- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Superintendents from 70 school districts in 13 Michigan counties on Friday unveiled a program to improve student reading by third grade.

The Reading Now Network aims to make sure at least 80 percent of third-graders in those districts read at their grade level, The Grand Rapids Press reported (https://bit.ly/1jDGbLx ).

Details were released at the Kent Intermediate School District in Grand Rapids. The initiative will include strategies to help the remaining 20 percent of third-graders improve their reading.

“One of the most important things that we can do is prepare children for the rigor and we do that beginning in pre-K,” said Teresa Weatherall Neal, superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools. “If we can get them ready for third grade so those children are ready to fly and strike that interest in learning - that is going to be powerful.”

The Reading Now Network also will work on preparing students for kindergarten, eighth-grade math proficiency, and career and college readiness.

“Our commitment is to do whatever it takes to improve early literacy, and ultimately, eliminate illiteracy in a region of nearly 1.6 million people and more than 257,000 students,” said Pete Haines, superintendent of Greenville Public Schools.

The network will include a field study identifying schools and districts where students are becoming proficient readers and a fall summit to share study results.

A spring 2015 symposium is planned for teachers and administrators to learn additional reading techniques and share strategies for the classroom.

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, https://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids


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