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State Legislators Hear New Plans To Improve Childhood Literacy

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Members of the West Virginia Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education met Sunday evening to learn more about early childhood literacy.

State Superintendent of Schools David Roach laid out the state’s vision for education. He detailed a simple approach to prioritize reading, writing and math at the elementary level to build a solid foundation for West Virginia's youngest learners.

“I have advocated for, since assuming the superintendent's position in August, that literacy is the key that unlocks the door to students and our state's success,” Roach said. “I committed the Department of Education to return to the focus of academic achievement.”

Roach called recent reports on student achievement and assessments as a call to action, not just for educators, but for parents and community members as well. West Virginia had some of the lowest math and reading scores in the nation on the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, released last month.

“This is a job beyond the ability of one state agency,” he said. “Instead the state as a whole and all the entities within it must work to build and advance reading, literacy and writing.”

Roach laid out a plan to bring more stakeholders into the educational conversation by creating a committee that would help standardize academic expectations across the state. He also expressed a desire to hire, train and deploy reading specialists across the state.

Legislators also heard from two educational experts on early intervention approaches that have worked in other communities across the country.

North Central/Morgantown Reporter, cschulz@wvpublic.org, 304-284-1497, @SchulzReports

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