The biggest focus on reading in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is centered on the third grade.
That’s the age, as you’ll often hear, that children should transition from learning to read to reading to learn. And, not coincidentally, that’s the age where students face the test under the still-controversial “Read to Achieve” program.
Superintendent Ann Clark spoke this past week about pushing the focus on literacy skills into the upper grades. She put on her wish list the ability to train secondary teachers in the WestEd Reading Apprenticeship program.
Essentially, it’s supposed to help teachers get students thinking about how they learn. As they read difficult material, the students are supposed to ask themselves questions about what is confusing in the text and what they can do to figure it out. Instead of having teachers summarize the reading in lectures, they’re supposed to get students to power through reading the material themselves.
The program carries a big price tag. The training would cost about $1.1 million, and it would encompass teachers at the middle and high school levels that you wouldn’t normally associate with working on literacy: math, science, social studies, etc.
That training now becomes one of the many priorities competing for funding as CMS goes through its budget process. Others include a 2 percent raise for staff and funding for teacher assistant positions.