St. John School Board questions reading program

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 24, 2007


Staff Reporter

RESERVE-The Renaissance Reading Program in St. John Parish was a topic of much discussion at Thursday’s meeting.

Coordinator of Education and Instructional Technology and the Head of the Reading Renaissance Program Bonnie Temple presented the board with some figures that showed that students in the parish are reading more than they ever have before.

However, the two schools in the Parish that are reading the least, John L. Ory Elementary Magnet and LaPlace Elementary, are scoring highest on their fourth and eighth grade LEAP tests.

Board Member Albert Burl questioned the production of the reading program. Burl said that he had visited some of the schools in the Parish and was not impressed with the students’ reading ability. According to Burl fifth grade students are reading &#8220The Cat and the Hat,” a first grade reading level book.

&#8220I don’t think that the program is working,” said Burl. &#8220It’s not being evaluatedŠ We need to target the reason.”

Burl also suggested that the students who are reading at a lower level need to be evaluated to see if they should be in Special Education classes. This would allow those students to receive the one-on-one attention that they need.

Board member Russ Wise agrees that reading and comprehension are important to the students’ learning and development.

&#8220If you can’t read, you can’t learn,” said Wise. &#8220That’s a given.”

But Wise along with several other board members agree with Burl in the fact that it doesn’t matter how many books the students are reading. If they do not comprehend the material at or close to their reading level, there could be a serious problem with the Renaissance Reading Program.