Nevada schools receive $26 million for reading |

Nevada schools receive $26 million for reading

by Teri Vance
photo by Cathleen AllisonSean Jones, 6, reads in his first grade class at Fremont Elementary School on Monday afternoon. Nevada received a $26 million federal grant to improve early literacy in the schools.

Nevada has received $26 million to ensure all students can read by the time they leave the third grade.

“Literacy is probably the most important skill our students can learn in school,” said Mike Watty, Carson City School District’s associate superintendent in charge of education. “The sooner we can get them reading, the easier their lives are going to be.”

The district and statewide goal to improve early literacy received federal support from a grant through the Reading Excellence Act issued on Aug. 3.

“I’ve stated publicly many times my belief that reading is the cornerstone for educational success for children everywhere and this grant will go a long way toward helping us achieve reading excellence in Nevada,” said Gov. Kenny Guinn.

“It is my goal that all Nevada children will be able to read by the end of the third grade and that Nevada serve as a national model for education throughout the country.”

The grant money will be distributed over the next three years to fund such programs as professional development, tutoring, family literacy and transitional programs for kindergarten students.

Watty is not sure how much money Carson City will see.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how it breaks down,” he said. “We have three at-risk schools in our area. Any funds we can get to support them would be most helpful.”

The programs would supplement literacy programs already in place at the elementary schools.

Empire, Mark Twain and Bordewich-Bray elementary schools use the Success For All program; Fritsch and Fremont elementary schools use the California Early Literacy Learning program and Seeliger Elementary School implemented an individual improvement plan with an early literacy computer program.

The grant will create a partnership with Nevada universities in researching and developing literacy plans focused on improved instruction within the elementary schools.

“We received tremendous support from the university partners at the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as Governor Guinn’s office, in writing and submitting this grant,” said Paul LaMarca, of the state Department of Education, who wrote the grant.