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Fox voices concerns over summer reading program

Wonders if program is mandatory or voluntary

August 7, 2013

PARKERSBURG — Is a voluntary summer reading program now a mandatory requirement at a Wood County school? That was a question raised by board of education member Jim Fox at Tuesday’s meeting....

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Aug-07-13 2:21 AM

Schools were required by Dr. Law, per memo, to give students summer reading projects. Dr. Law did not specify if grades were to be taken as that was up to the schools, which may have afforded teachers to choose by grade level, subject area, etc. Many school systems require such projects as it affords students the opportunity to strengthen reading. Many parents don't like it because they feel the kids need a work free summer. The issue is all about how it was presented and whether or not students can be held accountable to do work while they are not enrolled. This should have been a positive thing for kids if presented as extra credit.

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Aug-07-13 4:59 AM

Sounds to me like, maybe Fox needs a summer reading program!

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Aug-07-13 8:17 AM

My wife wasn't happy about getting the letter in July but without hesitating, we looked at our kid just starting middle school and said "you were exited about leaving grade school, welcome to middle school. Pick a book"... Reading doesn't hurt anyone.

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Aug-07-13 9:17 AM

If you really want to make sure parents get a "paper" - mail it. Or religiously go thru the backpack, something you learn to do after getting notices for PTA 2 days after it happened.

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Aug-07-13 9:49 AM

How in the heck is reading considered "work" by "4ourkids". Jeez louise, the kids don't have to work in the wheat fields. Read a few books. It's people like 4ourkids who are the reason that these kids are so dumb.

As for BakerKat's comments, which make sense in concept, I have this thought: going through backpacks does NOT work, as the kids leave the stuff about which they don't care at school. You would THINK that mail is a good concept, but I can tell you through my experience with parents that a fair percentage of them do not even open mail that comes to their house. Additionally, and sadly, the mail goes to the house of one parent, who does NOT communicate with the other parent.

Shocked that ALL the members were present for a change.

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Aug-07-13 10:21 AM

The memo came from Dr. Law and it said that the summer reading program is required and some form of accountability would be required when school started. We were given a list, typed poorly, from the WVDE. It did not say optional and it said the books must be chosen and read. What Dr. Law and the WVDE forget is that schools DO NOT have control of the students over the summer. Seems like they feel like Obama and they must mandate for the kids what "They" feel is good and necessary for them, not what is voluntary. This whole matter was poorly handled by Law and the WVDE and parents have a right to complain. The Edison principal should be reprimanded, but she won't.

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Aug-07-13 5:23 PM

If the Board makes summer programs mandatory, they have to pay someone to oversee those programs. It's a matter of time before the NEA and the AFT start clamoring for these programs and the positions needed to oversee them.

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Aug-07-13 5:59 PM

I can't remember Wood County School system being as chaotic as it's been in the last few years. Seems there's no real leadership anymore, particularly from the top. Or, maybe it's a communication problem. Whatever it is, obviously something just isn't in sync.

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Aug-07-13 6:07 PM

I doubt if anyone on the BOE or in school administration was required to read during the summer and look how well they turned out. (a feeble attempt at sarcasm)

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Aug-07-13 6:24 PM

I am beginning to wonder what office Mr.Fox is getting ready to run for.He seems to want to be in constant controversary & getting his name out in front.He claims that he is supportive of reading yet thinks reading lists that WVDE wanted schools to do is not ok.To read 3 books of 100 pages during the summer is nothing.This idea is used all over the country to help improve and maintain reading skills over summer****munication is two ways folks.Letter was sent home end of school year & this was just a reminder in case it had been overlooked or forgotten.His degree is in International Studies so perhaps he might check out how & why other countries are passing us in education.There are so many good things going on with our students & teachers but only negatives get reported.How about not always demeaning efforts trying to help improve our students, or offer solutions instead of just complaining?And shame on parents for not wanting the best for their children but look for a

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Aug-07-13 9:35 PM

Football players start practice during the summer to be better when the season begins...but people are against summer reading to be better at reading or maybe learn something. If it was for extra credit, how many would do it. Expect the best, get the best. Good for Edison to want to help their students be the best and expect a little more.

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Aug-07-13 10:58 PM

Just wanted to clear up a few things. None of the children or their parents that I talked to heard anything about the summer reading program until it was sent in a newsletter through the mail that I received in July. In fact, the first I heard of it was on Facebook, and then I searched through all my mail to find the newsletter so I could read it for myself. I don't have a problem with kids having summer reading assignments. However, I do think this was handled poorly. If it is a requirement, and for a grade, I believe an acknowledgment to be signed by the parent and/or child should have been sent home since the child is on summer break, and it should have been sent prior to the end of the school year, not mailed with a newsletter that might be overlooked with all the activities happening in the summer time. I'm still confused as to whether or not it was a county requirement or a school requirement.

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Aug-07-13 11:12 PM

Children need time off from 'school' during their break, otherwise they simply don't care. Reading is a great thing, don't get me wrong. However, it shouldn't be required by the WCBOE but rather from the parents to help their children become more successful members of society. When will we hold parents responsible and not the's not their job to micromanage every single thing.

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Aug-07-13 11:24 PM

PeppermintNapalm, the school systems probably didn't require members to read during summer break...BUT, I would guess their parent's encouraged their children to read regardless.

Reasonable, my parents read to me throughout my childhood and encouraged me to read as well (whether it was during my free time, on my own, and/or to them.) Extra credit v. a grade/requirement is completely different.

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Aug-09-13 2:59 PM

This issue at hand is how this was handled, how parents were notified (or not) and whether this is graded. I have a student at Edison Middles School, going into the 8th grade. He was not aware of the assignment, and I didn't catch it in the newsletter. I am very unhappy with how this has transpired. I have several friends whose students were also unaware, as they were, of a summer reading assignment. The Schools and the BOE should have notified parents via mail and it should have been posted on Edline and the other school websites. More discussion with the public and the newspaper prior to this happening could have helped as well. I think reading is extremely important and wish kids read more, however I agree that this should be voluntary and for extra credit, not mandatory. If Wood County would like to go to year round school that's one thing...otherwise let the kids have a summer break.

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