Reading program to be discussed by board

PARKERSBURG – Wood County School officials will discuss the county’s summer reading program at a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the central office.

School officials briefly discussed the issue last week when board member Jim Fox voiced concern about the program after he said a parent presented him with a summer newsletter from Edison Middle School. The Edison newsletter distributed late last month informed parents the summer reading program was a requirement and would determine the first grade of the new school year.

Edison students are required to read three books and craft varying follow-up reports. For younger grade levels that consists of drawing pictures and two-line sentences to correspond to the book.

“I thought (Edison) had some wonderful ideas in their newsletter,” said Judy Johnson, director of curriculum and instruction. “We need higher expectation for our students. Our reading (achievement) scores have flat lined.”

Fox and school system officials raised questions concerning the late notice of the program, that it is required and that a grade is attached to the program.

Mike Winland, director of secondary schools, told Fox last week students were given the assignment before the end of the school year. The newsletter – sent in July – was only a reminder.

Both he and school Superintendent Pat Law questioned the grade for the program. The program is supposed to be voluntary.

Johnson said she had about a half-dozen phone calls from parents concerning Edison’s program, but none were complaining about the program itself.

“None of them complained about the reading project, but about the timing,” she said. “Edison did what we asked them to do, to encourage students to read more.”

Johnson said Edison officials have extended the program allowing students to complete it by the mid-term in September.

Johnson, Winland and Joe Oliverio, director of elementary schools, are scheduled to address the issue at the meeting.