Thursday 26 May 2022
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Changing lives one student at a time

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Ocala, Florida: While parents may understand the importance of reading to their kids at an early age, not all children are born bookworms. According to a report released last year by Common Sense Media, adolescents aren’t reading for fun much anymore and their reading achievement hasn’t increased for more than two decades.

Among the findings, girls tend to read 10 min longer than boys, and adolescents read more than teenagers. And yet, one high school is challenging and exceeding this research by promoting and using a reading programme that is not only helping its students understand and comprehend literature, but also motivating them to read more.

Reading Plus is an reading programme that changes how, what, and why students read, and according to Jayne Ellspermann, the 2015 National Principal of the Year at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla, is helping her students to develop a confidence in reading that wasn’t there before.

“We have students who have mastered their basic needs, but what we really appreciate about Reading Plus is the opportunity for students, once they’re empowered, to exceed what we would have thought was their potential as they progress through this programme.”

— Jayne Ellspermann.

“As they are empowered, as they increase their reading potential, we are able to leverage Reading Plus to allow these students to become college ready, to increase their ACT and SAT scores, so that the possibilities for our students are limitless,” she says.

The programme targets specific skill gaps and helps to push students to meet their goals. In addition to developing basic proficiency, the programme can help students move beyond grade-level reading and advance towards college-readiness.

Ellspermann hopes that through the use of the Reading Plus programme, students will be empowered and inspired to pick up a book prior to National Reading Day on January 22.

Reading Plus is changing lives one at a time every single day,” says Natasha Murphy, the 2014 Florida Reading Association High School Reading Teacher of the Year “I’m able to see this change in my students daily. And it’s an amazing thing.”


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