Caddo Schools discuss measures to combat statewide literacy concerns
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Across Louisiana, more than 50% of students in K-3 are performing below their reading performance level, according to the state Education Department’s most recent data.
The good news is that this is an improvement compared to the nearly 55% of kids who were performing below their reading performance level in 2020.
“Literacy is the foundation of all learning,” said Keith Burton, Caddo Schools chief academic officer. “If you don’t start a child off well with those literacy foundations, then no matter how they progress, they’re going to struggle.”
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted learning for most students over the past few years. Burton said those disruptions especially affect students’ learning development.
“We always think about literacy more around those primary grades — but we have students going into those upper grades that are struggling.”
Fall 2020 results revealed that 40.4% of kindergarten students, 42.3% of first-graders, 48.4% of second-graders and 49.5% of third-graders scored “on or above benchmark” for the measured skills.
“Although findings show an increase of 4.1% in literacy proficiency rates from Fall 2020 to Fall 2021, in sum, literacy screener results identify many children as ‘at risk’ for reading problems and there is still much work to be done,” reads the Fall 2021 reading report. “These findings have led to a new set of actions focused on improving literacy in the early years. To bolster this effort, Louisiana re-established the Early Literacy Commission through Louisiana Senate Resolution 133 and Louisiana House Resolution 119.”
Burton said teachers are taking on new training. For example, they attended a literacy summit at LSU in Shreveport in 2021. Plus, the Louisiana Education Department is requiring “Science of Reading” training, in which teachers and leaders will be fully trained by 2024.
He noted that the additional days added to the calendar have already seemingly helped students.
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