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RCS to bridge reading gap between schools

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Russellville City Schools is working toward bridging the reading gap between second and third grade students by having the third grade reading coach help instruct the second grade students this year.
Curriculum Coordinator Susan Hall said this year Melody Fergerson will spend time in the second grade classrooms helping teachers help the students become better readers.
"This is the first time we have been allowed to have the third grade reading coach work with the second graders as well," Hall said. "We had to get special permission to allow Ms. Fergerson to work with our second graders."
West Elementary Reading Coach Deanna Hollimon said she is very excited that Fergerson will be able to work with the second graders so that they can become better readers and carry that through their education.
"Ms. Fergerson will be over here several times a week," Hollimon said. "We have to schedule it out, but I know she's going to be spending a lot of time with our second graders this year."
In addition to the extra help for second graders, Hollimon has implemented a mentoring program to help build self-confidence in struggling students.
"I was working with students when I noticed that some of them lacked the confidence needed to be successful readers," Hollimon said. "I mentioned to one the that she needed to believe in herself. I told her I believe in her and that her teacher believes in her so she should believe in herself."
Hollimon said the student looked at her and said that every time she believes in herself, she still can't do it.
"I decided then that we have to do something to build students' self-esteem," Hollimon said.
In an effort to build self-esteem, Hollimon brought her niece in to help.
"My niece, Ann-Marie Hall never backs down from a challenge," Hollimon said. "She has agreed to spend a few Fridays working with our girls' self esteem."
Hall brought a fellow student from UNA, Chris Haynes, to help with the boys to show them that reading is a boy thing too.
"I had a mother tell me her son didn't want to read because he didn't think it was a boy thing," Hollimon said. "So we got someone to come in and work with the boys as well."
During their first day at WES, Hall and Haynes read to the students and talked about working hard to become good readers.
Fergerson was also introduced to the second grade for the first time during the small assembly.
Both programs were developed to meet one goal: To encourage students to develop good reading skills for life.

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