More Funding to Improve Reading and Math Curriculum in Colorado Schools
COLORADO — Schools in Colorado will benefit from an upgrade to their reading and math curriculum thanks to millions in federal COVID relief funds.
The $10 million in funds will be distributed to 42 school districts and 28 charter schools across the state for K-8 math programs and K-3 READ Act teaching programs, according to the Department of Education. from Colorado. The money will help schools buy new reading and math programs after the pandemic significantly disrupted learning.
In El Paso and Pueblo Counties, Districts 2, 11, 20 and 70 will receive a portion of the funding. District 11 in Colorado Springs said it purchased a new reading program when the pandemic hit, but can still use the funds for anything related to K-3 literacy. Karol Gates, the program director for District 11, said their new reading program costs about $2 million and the materials aren’t cheap.
“Little kids need paper books and that’s what’s expensive, it’s only 10 copies of each title that you have, that you’re going to look at. So every time you introduce a literacy program, that always going to be quite expensive,” she said.
Gates said their goal was to expand the library of books for elementary students in their schools to meet children at their own reading level earlier.
“The more time kids spend with books, the faster they understand how to decode the world around them. Without it, they’re kind of in a 2D world. They’re not able to see how we can bring the language. They just have to get away from what people tell them instead of reading for themselves,” she said.
Colorado’s READ law was updated in 2019, requiring districts to meet certain standards for reading curriculum and higher education certifications, including teacher training in the science of reading. Gates said the new training requirement is essential for teachers to guide students through new reading.
“The most important thing about the science of reading is understanding how you can watch a student read something and know if they just memorized what’s on the page or if they made sense to words so you can apply it to harder, bigger words later,” she says.
District 11 will use federal relief funds to pay off their purchase of a new math curriculum that begins next school year.
According to the Colorado Department of Education, the pandemic has set most students’ learning back by at least seven months, some even more than that. The department also said children who don’t read well in third grade are four times more likely to fail to graduate from high school.
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