WV Kids Count is releasing a revealing report about how well 4th grade students in West Virginia read. The report shows Clay County 4th grade students with the highest reading proficiency rate of the 55 WV Counties. You can go to wvkidscountfund.org to see this information.
WV Kids Count also identifies the most common risk factors that keep 4th grade students from being good readers. These risk factors are:
The Mom’s Education Level
Low Family Income
Lack of a good Pre-K Program
The Clay County School System has been working to address each of these five issues.
An innovative iREAD Diploma Program and a Dropout Prevention Program is helping to raise the education levels of mothers.
A “Parents as Teachers” (PAT) program has helped to reduce birth problems to some degree.
We cannot do much to directly raise family incomes, except to ease the financial burden through efforts like “universal free meals” and free admission to games. Keeping young mothers and future young mothers in school helps much in the long term.
We were one of the first counties to achieve “Universality” in the Pre-K Program – that is, high quality Pre-K for all 4 year old children.
We also have implemented a Universal Free Meals Program to improve student nutrition.
In addition to these efforts, the Clay County School System has made a huge effort to place the very best teachers in our elementary classrooms. When children experience problems in Reading, our teachers work very hard to diagnose and correct those problems at an early age.
Our teachers are also placing a big emphasis on writing at all grade levels. Writing is often overlooked and good writers tend to read well.
The following Chart shows the 55WV Counties from best to worst in Reading Proficiency for 4th grade, based on the 2012 WESTEST2. This is the data being cited by WV Kids Count. The number for each county is the percent of 4th graders who scored Mastery or above (proficient).
It should be noted that even though Clay ranked 1st among the counties, we are striving to raise the reading proficiency level even higher. What about the 37% of children who do not read well? All kids need to read well.