West Virginia Department of Education Joins National Leaders to Focus on Reading

August 08, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education and Department of Education (WVDE) write another page in their effort to focus on students reading on grade level by the end of third grade.


In his State of the State Address, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin asked the state board to take actions within its authority to assure all students are reading at grade level by the end of the third grade. Since that time, the board has continued to work with state colleges and universities to raise standards for teachers, especially in the area of reading instruction. The board has also begun exploring how it can assure that all current teachers have the skills needed for the critical task of teaching not only reading but all subjects to our youngest students. Specifically, the board is requiring all new teachers take and pass an assessment guaranteeing they possess the necessary skills to teach reading.


Now, the WVDE Office of Early Learning has teamed up with the Appalachian Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC), one of 15 regional centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to hold a series of discussions to build a comprehensive plan for early childhood education. The first meeting is scheduled for August 9, 2013 from 10 am – 12 pm at the Capitol Complex, Building 7 (Caperton Center), Capitol Room. 


“With the leadership provided by Gov. Tomblin, the board is making great strides in improving student reading achievement,” said West Virginia Board of Education Member Lloyd Jackson. “If we are to be successful in making certain students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade, reaching out to education experts is paramount. There is much work left to be done but together I know we can thrive in creating a system that provides children the early literacy skills they need to flourish throughout their educational careers.”


“We know that in order to make significant progress in improving student achievement in our state we must begin with a strong focus on early literacy,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares. “We are excited to work with organizations and individuals who share a passion for reading.”


Dr. Lori Connors-Tadros, a senior project director for the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) at the National Institute for Early Education Research, will be the keynote speaker at the event.  She leads the work of CEELO to provide technical assistance to state education agencies across the country to implement innovative solutions to improve school readiness and success of young children.


“We are committed to ensuring students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade,” said Clayton Burch, director of the Office of Early Learning. “Our work with ARCC and CEELO is one of many steps in building a collaborative, intentionally-designed plan, that will not only close the literacy achievement gap by third grade, but will also better prepare West Virginia children for career and college readiness.”


For more information call Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Communication Office at 304-558-2699.  

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.