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Hartselle Enquirer

ARI spells success in city schools

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
"What are you supposed to do this summer?" asked Ellen Hodgen as first graders in Shelia Walters' class passed by her rooftop perch at F. E. Burleson Elementary School last Friday morning.
"Read!" they replied in unison.
Hodgen, the school's reading coach, climbed to the rooftop at 7:40 a.m. to pay off a debt she incurred after challenging the student body to meet its 2005-06 Alabama Reading Initiative goal. She stayed there, with an umbrella chair, cooler, cell phone and two professional reading books, until about 2 p.m. when she was run off by a swarm of pesky gnats and flying ants.
"They (students) did what we challenged them to do…improve their Oral Reading Fluency score from 55 to 72 percent," Hodgen said. "Our goal next year is 82 percent and we want them to get a jump start by doing a lot of reading over the summer."
"I'm just pleased to be sitting up here," she said. "It's the least I could do to recognize what the kids have done to improve their reading and to thank the faculty, teachers and parents for their support."
Hodgen said the 55 percent base score was determined by averaging oral reading fluency scores of students on tests taken prior to the implementation of the ARI program at the beginning of the 2005-06 school year. Three follow-up tests were conducted and the current score is based on the average of the most recent tests.
"ARI was a tremendous success," said Burleson Principal Sherry Calvert. "We had a lot of growth in all grade levels and we'll be at 82 percent or above this time next year."
"We made goal by increasing our Oral Reading Fluency by 10 percent, from 76 to 85 percent thanks to the ARI program, said Susan Hayes, principal at Barkley Bridge Elementary School. "I couldn't be any happier. Our reading coaches, teachers and students deserve a pat on the back for a job well done.
She pointed out that the percentages reported reflect an average of the Phonemic Awareness score in kindergarten and the Oral Reading Fluency scores in grades 1-3.
Crestline Elementary School also had a good report on the effectiveness of the Alabama Reading Initiative.
"Our Oral Reading Fluency scores on average increased from 62 to 70 percent," Principal Robin Varwig said. "Some grade levels had oodles of growth…in the 80s and 90s range. I'm really proud that we had one in the bottom level."
"The big key has been in small group instruction. The teachers are excited and so are the kids," she said.
"It was a great year for reading in our elementary Schools," Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed said. "ARI already has meant so much to our teachers, students and school system."

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