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In-Person Learning Helps Putnam Avoid Low Reading Levels

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
In-Person Learning Helps Putnam Avoid Low Reading Levels

Putnam County Curriculum Supervisor Jill Ramsey said the school system does not expect a gap in literacy like other systems in the state.

Governor Bill Lee said last week the pandemic has exposed how poorly low grade level students can read. Ramsey said Putnam has avoided this by sticking to in person learning.

“I think we are going to see that Putnam County may not experience, or certainly in my viewpoint, won’t experience the huge gap in learning like other districts do,” Ramsey said. “Cause we have been able to, since we started school, be one of the few districts in the state that has remained in school.”

Last week, Lee has called for a special legislative session last week to address these state wide reading levels. Ramsey said state wide reading levels have been an issue for several years, but school systems going all virtual has made this more apparent.

Ramsey said a strong reading curriculum put in place five years ago has helped Putnam County reading loss.

“Last year, that curriculum has expanded from all the way to Pre-K to 8th grade,” Ramsey said. “It is the same curriculum that we are using to teach kids to read, which is a huge benefit because it provides more coherence and consistency across grade levels.  Because we are using a really strong instructional material, we believe kids are going to be more proficient at reading, because we are being systematic about it. In the past programs we have used, the curriculums have not done that. We are already seeing improvements in proficiency rates for our youngest readers across the district.”

Teaching and materials are not the only factors of success. Ramsey said parents staying involved in a child’s learning during the pandemic has also helped.

“Certainly last spring when we were shut down, I think parents really found out what teachers had to do on a daily basis for kids to learn,” Ramsey said. “I think a lot of parents have a new appreciation for their kids teachers, but their home life and what they spend their time on, how they support their kid’s learning is absolutely crucial.”

Ramsey said the exact data on where student reading levels stand will not be known until winter assessments are completed.


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