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District Expands Reading Program

Blair Townsend is going to turn four years old and her mother is using technology to help her grasp the concept of reading.The Columbia Public School District says this new method will work if it is started early on.Two years ago, two local elementary schools started using MyON Reader, and now Columbia Public Schools are taking it a step further. They’re providing every four-year-old from the district a wireless password to access the reading program.This age group will have access to these tools and other agencies like United Way are teaming up with the reading program. “I think coming together as a community, making this available to all kids, it also levels the playing fields,” United Way Executive Director Tim Rich said.According to the United Way, the program will boost comprehension levels and their goals are simple.”We want all children to be ready for kindergarten, and have a successful entry and exit from middle school,” said Rich.Superintendent of the Columbia School District, Dr. Chris Belcher said, “This is the new model of the future and we know that the number one component to predict success of students, is their ability to read by the end of third grade.”According to the Columbia School District this $5,000 program will last until July and if it continues to be successful, they’ll extend their contract with their current vendor.The district said if they continue the program by next year they hope to implement the program all the way to eighth grade.

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