Verona sees big gains in reading

VERONA – The school year is still brand new, but first-graders at Verona Elementary have already earned flying colors.
Based on district reading assessments, 81 percent of this year’s first-graders left kindergarten reading at or above grade level. The first-graders were recognized with a reading pep rally and gifts of pencils and colors on Monday.
“We’ve never had that many kids go on to first grade at that benchmark level,” said Principal Temeka Shannon.
She attributes the gains to hard work by students and teachers with the Read Well program that has been in place at the school since 2006-2007.
In 2006-2007, 25 percent of students left kindergarten reading at or above grade level. In 2007-2008, 51 percent left kindergarten reading at or above grade level.
The first-grade teachers say they love the gains.
“Our focus has switched from teaching sounds they should have learned to kindergarten to reading the words,” said Shalon Clark-Ruth, first-grade teacher. “It lets us focus on what we want to do – writing and comprehension.”

Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal