Arden Road's New Reading Program Bumps Rating

Principal Marc Hamil
Principal Marc Hamil

More focus on individual students is how Arden Road Elementary School has cleaned up its act to go from unacceptable and garnered an exemplary title from the state.

Just one year ago this school bared the "academically unacceptable" title dished out by the state.  After some major revamping of reading classes, it is unacceptable no more.

In your reading classes, you may have had to read one book as a class.  That was the way at Arden road until recently, when they made the move toward more individualized teaching.

Principal Marc Hamil says, "we started with our kindergartners and first graders and then in second grade we start those kids and transition them into the literary circles in second grade."

A literacy circle allows students to choose a book to read for school.  4th grade reading teacher Mary Linn Sutton says, "I lay out several sets and then they can pick the one they like to read and sometimes if I realize they're going toward one that's above or below I try to guide them to one that might be more appropriate for their level."

Both Sutton and Hamil say the new program has made their students more interested in reading.

Sutton says, "the funniest thing I've found is that we would be reading a book and other kids who weren't reading the book would be so interested, they would hear us, and they would go to the library and check it out because they want to read it too."

Hamil says, "it was really fun to see those changes take place using those circles."

Hamil says now, the hard part will be maintaining the exemplary title.