The latest award recognizes the efforts by the West Virginia Department of Education to strengthen its policies and practices to increase rigor, promote effective reading instruction and improve student achievement.
Only five states have received the award in its seven-year history _ Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
In giving the award, the International Reading Association, based in Newark, Del., 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 stateís efforts to improve reading achievement.
The association liked West Virginiaís collaboration with the state reading association, kindergarten through third grade initiatives, requirements for reading specialists and the alignment of K-3 reading in state board policy.
West Virginia will receive the award in May at the associationís annual convention in Toronto.