Beyond nursery rhymes
Curry programs aid state in improving reading
by Jean-Claude Lejeune
School programs help new teachers learn the best methods for
teaching their pupils the joys of reading.
By Anne Bromley
Goose and Dr. Seuss make the list, of course, as do more recent
titles, like Hunches in Bunches and Street Rhymes
Around the World.
are among books recommended by the Phonological Awareness Literacy
Screening program, a Curry
School of Education initiative that helps children learn the
basics of reading. Due to the strength of PALS and related programs,
Curry has earned a major role in implementing Reading First, a
grant-based initiative that is part of the 2001 federal legislation
No Child Left Behind.
state of Virginia has received a Reading First grant of almost
$17 million to boost youngsters reading skills especially
good news amid the gloom of recent state budget cuts. Under the
grant, the Curry School will receive about $2.2 million a year
for five years to offer Virginia teachers advanced training on
reading instruction and to help evaluate their students
state selects school districts to apply for Reading First funding
based on the percentage of students with low scores on the third-grade
Standards of Learning test in English. Previous federal and state
programs have been rolling along under different names,
but there are more requirements [in Reading First], and schools
are being held accountable for their implementation, said
Marcia Invernizzi, the Curry professor who directs PALS.
the 21 states that have been awarded Reading First grants to date,
Virginia is one of few that works with a university to implement
its program, said Curry professor Mary Abouzeid, who directs Teaching
Educators McGuffey Practicums Off Grounds the outreach
arm of the McGuffey Reading Center. TEMPO, which began offering
graduate courses in 1984, is administered by U.Va.s School
of Continuing and Professional Studies at regional centers throughout
required by the Reading First grant, TEMPO will provide reading
institutes for teachers. The institutes will call for an expansion
of TEMPO a huge-scale effort, Abouzeid said.
summer, reading institutes will be held for almost 1,000 kindergarten
and first-grade teachers in three locations Charlottesville,
Richmond and Hampton Roads. Enrollment will increase to as many
as 4,000 during each of the next four summers and include second-
and third-grade teachers. Special education teachers, principals
and other administrators also are encouraged to attend the reading
workshops, said Abouzeid.
of the grants success requires participating schools to
use PALS as a way of charting pupils progress in learning
to read and assessing where they are having problems.
who attend reading institutes will have more tools to help their
students improve. In this way, the Reading First initiative aims
to evaluate how teachers professional development influences
teacher knowledge is the missing piece in improving literacy,
more information, see the Web sites: http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/pals