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W.Va. Students Finish School Year Above National Average

July 21, 2006

CHARLESTON, W.Va. _ West Virginia has completed the school year among the top 10 reading states in the United States.  

A recent external evaluation ordered by the U.S. Department of Education under the federal No Child Left Behind Act found that West Virginia’s first-, second- and third-graders were among the top performers in reading achievement growth. The study looked at trend data from 2003-2005.  

West Virginia’s second-graders also were among the top 10 reading states for students with disabilities, African-American and Hispanic students and English Language Learners for whom English is a second language.  

At grade three, West Virginia was among the top 10 states for reading among both African-American and Hispanic students.  

West Virginia’s second- and third-graders also were above the national average, a significant achievement because reading growth at this level tends to level off or decline.  

“Research tells us that when children become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to perform well in other subjects,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “West Virginia teachers recognize the role reading plays and are nationally recognized for their commitment to teaching reading.”  

West Virginia last month became 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 states that have policies, programs and initiatives that focus on reading.  

West Virginia also is the recipient of a $43.8 million federal grant. The six-year grant was announced in 2003. It’s administered through the federal Reading First program, which strives to improve reading instruction and ensure that students are reading on grade level by the end of grade three.  

Contact Beverly Kingery, Reading/Language Arts Coordinator for Office of Instructional Services, at (304) 558-7805 for more information.  

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