West Virginia Gets International Reading Award

May 17, 2006

CHARLESTON, W.Va. _ West Virginia has become the only state in the country to receive the International Reading Association’s Five Star Policy Award for the fourth consecutive year.  

The award recognizes the efforts by the West Virginia Department of Education and the state’s teachers to improve reading achievement among students through excellent policies, programs and initiatives.  

Only five states have received the award in its six-year history _ Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Wisconsin has twice received the award, while the other states have received it once.  

In giving the award, the International Reading Association considers teacher quality and methods, reader support and assistance, reading material and technology and testing.  

The association believes students have five fundamental rights. Those include the right to be taught by certified teachers, to receive help from specialists when they struggle, to have access to a wide variety of books and to be taught and tested using multiple methods that suit their needs.  

States must document that they support each of the principles. The association also randomly selects educators to verify that they are aware of the state’s efforts to improve reading achievement.  

The association recognized West Virginia’s implementation of an uninterrupted reading block and formative assessment for kindergarten through third grade and the state’s use of technology. The state also was recognized for collaborating with other literacy agencies and associations in West Virginia and for funding reading programs and symposiums for educators.  

West Virginia received the award earlier this month at the association’s 51st annual convention in Chicago.

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