Lyle Schools Working to Improve Reading & Math Skills

Posted at: 03/24/2014 6:04 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The mural in Cathie Dudley's classroom says "Reading takes you everywhere".

"They use it in math, they use it in social studies, they use it in science," said the Lyle second grade teacher.

And next year, some students in the Lyle school district will be getting extra help.

"We received one full-time math tutor here at Lyle and a part time reading corps tutor," said Lyle schools principal Melanie Jiskra.

The Lyle school district applied for funding from AmeriCorps, which oversees math and reading tutor programs in Minnesota.

"It's based on our MCA data ... our Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment data," principal Melanie Jiskra explained. “What we're looking for is students who are slightly just below meeting standards."

“Some of our students get individual help or small group help through the title program or through special ed, but this hits the kids who don't qualify for that," second grade teacher Cathie Dudley added.

“Our reading corps program runs K through third grade. That tutor will work with students one on one, 20 minutes each day," principal Melanie Jiskra told us.

And third grade is key -- educators say third grade marks the tipping-point between "learning to read" and "reading to learn".

"We are at this point still working on the decoding strategies in second grade," teacher Cathie Dudley said.  “When they get into third grade, they'll be using it more to do their research or do different projects or activities."

And research done at the University of Chicago supported that ... after a single semester of tutoring ... the average kindergarten student with an Americorps tutor performed twice as well as students without a tutor.

"Up to 70 percent of students who are showing some struggles in their reading ... by that age if we can get early intervention by third grade, they will have reading success," principal Melanie Jiskra said.

The Lyle tutors are expected to be on-board by early August, and spend the entire next school year in the district.