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McDonald County High School New Reading Program

The reading program started in the beginning of the school year and is making a big difference in students reading skills.
MCDONALD COUNTY, MO.--- A new program at McDonald County High School has students focusing on their reading skills. The reading program started in the beginning of the school year and is making a big difference in students reading skills. McDonald County High School officials knew they needed a reading program based on their test scores. So they sought out two elementary school teachers who can teach the students how to read in a more basic way.

"High school teachers, they can teach algebra, they can teach biology and chemistry, but high school teachers are not generally reading teachers. So, we had to find teachers with reading background, so we went to the elementary schools," said Greg Leach, McDonald County High School Principal. 

That's how school administrators found Trudy Blankenship and Teri Riley, elementary school teachers whose methods are improving students abilities drastically. It's all based on their innovative system, which they brought to the school starting this year.

"We do rotations, they have a vocabulary silent reading rotation, the software rotation and we have the small group with me rotation," said Trudy Blankenship, Reading Teacher. 

McDonald County High School is the only high school in the Four States that has a reading program taught by elementary school teachers. Trudy says it isn't just about the reading.

"You know, I make them feel safe and comfortable in my room. I have kids coming to me to help them with college career choices, contacting colleges, I do all of that," said Blankenship. 

Trudy says she has 66 students. By Christmas, 25 will have made enough progress to leave her class, improving by more than one grade level. Even though students pass the class, some are choosing to stay because they like it so much and want to learn more. High School Student William Donaldson's reading has grown two grade levels since the start of the year. 

"I like this class better than most of my classes because we actually can do fun stuff other than work, it's increased my vocabulary more than any other reading program I've been in," said William Donaldson, 9th Grade. 

Since this reading program is doing so well,  Trudy and Teri plan to continue their system of teaching and hope to see even more improvements in students scores.
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