JCPS Superintendent says reading is top priority - News, Weather & Sports

JCPS Superintendent says reading is top priority

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Dr. Donna Hargens Dr. Donna Hargens
Mayor Greg Fischer Mayor Greg Fischer
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Fern Creek High School students are learning about English through food in Food Literacy class. Students build an appetite for reading and writing by talking about a subject they love. Their teacher says the course has been effective in engaging students by putting a twist on your standard high school English class.


Getting kids to engage in reading is key. Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens says reading is "the most important 21st Century skill" and the top skill that educators must focus on.


"There is a real disparity between low socioeconomic students and high socioeconomic students and the number of vocabulary words they know when they go to kindergarten," said Hargens.


That’s a statement Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer agrees with.


"Until grade three a child learns to read,” said Fischer, “after grade three you read to learn."


Kentucky's students are making progress in reading but only 51 percent of middle school students were found to be proficient readers on the K-Prep across the state. Across the district, only 41 percent of elementary school kids were proficient in reading. School leaders say more needs to be done.


Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said if children are not reading at grade-level by the third grade their likelihood of graduating from high school is very much diminished.


"If they are not on grade-level reading by grade three, we've got community problems," Fischer added.


Fischer challenged those in the community to become volunteers with Every 1 Reads. According to Fischer, 1,000 volunteers are needed. The volunteers commit to read to a child for 30 minutes, once a week, throughout the school year.


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