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Literacy in the Twin Tiers: Making a national impact

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM-TV) – In our final installment of Literacy in the Twin Tiers, we take a closer look at literacy in the Elmira City School District. Over the last few years, the district has positioned itself as a national beken for literacy intervention. 

So how did they do it? The following is a quick overview. 

Elmira to Present at National Conference*

Educators from the Elmira City School District are returning for a second year to present as the Conference Key Note at the national “Read 180” Summit. A product of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Read 180 is a blended learning solution for struggling readers in grades 4–12+. With a 41% improvement in Reading NWEA results for students in the Read 180 program for 2 years, Elmira was asked to present at the annual national conference as a benchmark district for two straight years.

The Read 180 and System 44 programs were first piloted in 2016 with 437 fifth graders in Elmira. In year two, 101 eighth grade students were enrolled in the program. Since 2017, over 2,000 Elmira students in grades 3-10 have been enrolled in the programs.

Climb Aboard the Reading Express (CARE) Grant*

Our Elmira City School District has recently been awarded an Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Program Grant from the US Department of Education, one of only 40 recipients from across the United States to receive this financial award. This three-year federal grant offers $2.1M in total ($727,000 per academic year). With these additional funds, we have the opportunity to implement our CARE Project (Climb Aboard the Reading Express) program. From multi-tiered instruction to advanced literacy support from our school libraries, the grant will fund literacy activities for students in grades kindergarten through third grade.

The IAL program supports the implementation of high-quality plans for childhood literacy activities and book distribution efforts. Per year, $350,000 will be spent on books for our classrooms, school libraries and to be given to kids to keep permanently at home. With this support, we will be able to reorganize our K-2 libraries to increase accessibility to books and to include engaging, current, and content-rich literature.

The book giveaway efforts will begin at the end of this school year. Each student, in grades kindergarten through third, will go home this summer with a “Box of Books” comprising 25-40 free books for them to build their permanent home libraries! Thanks to this grant, we will be purchasing around 200,000 books in total for our classrooms, libraries, and families.

*Information provided by the Elmira City School District

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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