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SCHOOL OFFICIALS TO IMPLEMENT READING SOFTWARE DISTRICTWIDE

To help prepare elementary students for rigorous reading comprehension tests at the third-grade level, school officials plan to implement districtwide a software program that’s seen such success at North Laurinburg Elementary, its developers have featured the school in a promotional video.

Scotland County’s students will join the more than 200,000 already using Imagine Learning programs in more than eight countries, according to the software company’s website. Its programs target those learning English, those just learning to read and those with developmental disabilities — and according to Rachel Burris, Scotland County’s elementary education director, it is more closely aligned to the state’s newly implemented Common Core reading standards, or Read to Achieve, than any other program she’s come across in the early elementary market.

“And it’s not just the new standards,” Burris said Friday in an interview with North Laurinburg Principal Rodney Byers, district spokesperson Meredith Bounds and Pamela Baldwin, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “… It really hits on basic information like phonics and fluency, but at the same time, for kids who don’t need that much extra help in that area, it gives them excellent practice with the reading standards and allows them to develop their critical thinking, like comparing and contrasting.”

The video, which can be viewed at bit.ly/PzIKAD, shows rows of children at desks wearing headphones and writing along with, speaking to and otherwise interacting with the software. Third-grade teachers Ashley Locklear and Alison McCormick, like Burris, say the program helps with reading comprehension, while allowing kids to feel as if they’re playing a game rather than studying; and Baldwin says the program tracks progress in a way both teachers and students understand.

“The most important thing is, the kids love it,” Byers said.