BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Bozeman School District will give a presentation to the City Commission about a new reading initiative targeted at helping elementary school kids increase their reading proficiency.
Superintendent Rob Watson said the initiative was fueled by 25% of 3rd-grade students who are not up to par when it comes to reading ability.
“It’s a challenge,” said Watson. “We have about 75% of our kiddos that are reading at grade level by 3rd grade and we would like to see that higher.”
Watson said the goal is to hit 90%.
“So we have a ways to go,” said Watson. “And so that is where our concern is, and that is really where we need to focus our efforts on. Not only K, 1, 2 and 3 but Pre-K reading skills.”
The board plans on doing this by joining with local partners like the United Way, which is starting a Pre-K reading initiative using a program called imagination library to get books to kids who haven’t started elementary school.
“One of the other issues that we are aware of is that reading skills drop off during the summertime, so we are looking at other partnerships we can do next summer to really keep kids reading.”
One of the big reasons the district is concerned is due to the repercussions of students not being on track.
“What we see also is they struggle. So it’s not just English, they struggle accessing the curriculum in science and social studies because they struggle with reading. What that looks like in high school is they struggle in those core areas and it could mean that they drop out of high school. So that is what we are really trying to prevent is that,” said Watson.
Watson said not all reading skills can be taught at school and it is imperative for parents to make sure kids are also reading at home.
According to Watson, Bozeman is ahead of most school districts when it comes to 3rd-grade reading proficiency.