Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Deanie Wimmer ReportingBack to school this year will bring a new program to schools all over Utah that spotlights reading.
It highlights the importance of reading 20 minutes a day and rewards those students who do it.
State education and business leaders, including KSL-TV and Radio, unveiled the "Road to Success" reading program to educators at dozens of pilot schools.
It underscores the belief many teachers have that reading is the most fundamental skill we can teach our kids.
Amy Limburg is a teacher at Tolman Elementary. She said, "Reading is definitely the most important skill for a child to learn." The program encourages kids and parents to read 20 minutes a day, and helps kids track their reading at school.
The incentive is bikes for every school. Sure it's important to improve reading scores, but hopefully it will be the visual reminder for students to do their 20 minutes.
For teachers, this program offers different rewards.
Mary Jo Murray teaches at Quail Hollow Elementary. She told us, "I really like that the parents are involved, and it helps them to understand and have a better appreciation of reading and awareness."
Principal Jan Rawlins said, "It helps involve the parents to keep track of their records. They have to report to someone, which is kind of nice."
The bottom line is that for students who don't read at grade level by the time they reach fourth grade, three-fourths will likely never catch up.
Schools that have adopted the state's new emphasis on early reading see impressive results.
Principal Jan Tanner said, "Just having that 20 minutes a day and reinforcing what we do at school has really made a partnership with home and school. That's really made a reading achievement, I believe, in our schools."
Budgets show that schools spend twice as much money each year on students who need to catch up on their reading. KSL and other sponsors hope to address some of the school budget issues.