Lancaster – Ohio University Lancaster is one of the partners in a state grant project to help area elementary school students read at their grade level by the 3rd grade. The Lancaster City School District was awarded a nearly $230,000 grant for one year to implement the early literacy program.
"Our simple goal is to make kids better readers," said Superintendent Steve Wigton. "Kindergarten through third grade is the primary group we are targeting and we're expanding partnerships with many groups and organizations in the community to do just that."
A new state law requires students to meet certain proficiency levels on reading tests to advance to the fourth grade. The law will go into effect next school year.
Lancaster City Schools is partnering with the West After School Center, the Fairfield County Library, Rotary and OUL. The project will use data and resources to target all students below proficient reading levels for intensive, explicit and systematic instruction. Teacher Education students from Ohio University Lancaster will work with district teachers to build co-teaching models and reduce the student-teacher ratio.
"Pre-service teachers from OUL will also graduate with an understanding of the at-risk learner and take this knowledge into their teaching careers," said OUL Education Instructor Terri Green. "One of the goals of this partnership is to put a literacy education system in place that will continue after the grant money is gone. OUL students participating in this project mean future teachers in our community will have the knowledge and skills to help children learn to read better."
The grant project starts this fall. But, OUL students are already working with students in Lancaster City Schools this summer. The OUL students are teaching phonics to 3rd and 4th graders enrolled in the LCS Summer School program.