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Literacy coach whips Tooele students' reading skills into shape

By Nadine Wimmer | Posted - Feb. 2, 2010 at 10:14 p.m.



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TOOELE -- Many schools have basketball coaches and football coaches, but literacy coaches? KSL News found a school in Tooele where stats and scores are part of a winning reading program.

Settlement Canyon Elementary School's literacy coach whips students into action with reps, rigor and speed.

"Come on, kids, let's read!" Leslie Anthony hollers.

"Let's go again: Baa, baa black sheep!" she continues. "Raise your hand if you heard some ‘ahh' sounds."

Part drill sergeant, part cheerleader, she says students who have trouble reading often lack the confidence.

"They struggle a little bit. I take those struggling readers in, and we boost their confidence by giving them things they can read, and show them they can read," Anthony says.

One sign of success is a celebration KSL News attended. The students are half way through the year and accomplished their school goal of reading 2.5 million minutes.

"We've met our halfway point, and now we're partying," Settlement Canyon Principal Gailynn Warr says.

Besides a coach, the school also brings in community tutors. They help teachers with best practices. In the end, they use data, like a second-grade oral reading test, to drive instruction and gauge success.

"You can see the progress that they're making," Warr says. "We're very optimistic that they're going to be [at their goal] by May."

The school's program is encouraging progress so much so that many schools in the Tooele School District now have literacy coaches.

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

Nadine Wimmer

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