NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The statewide family literacy effort, Texas Reads One Book, was launched Monday
The campaign's purpose is two-fold in places where low reading scores are threatening community control of their own schools.
Ask any third grader of a Texas public school what they did this morning, and you're likely to receive the same answer.
"I would like to present you each with your own copy of ...," a teacher said.
In unison, the children replied, "'Charlotte's Web.'"
Most readers are familiar with the 60-year-old children's classic. Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett reminisced prior to reading Chapter 1 via a statewide video cast.
"I remember like yesterday in the second grade reading this book," Garrett said.
"For one thing, when we have our guest readers today, the children will see that not only are they required to read, but that the grownups who came out today are readers also," said Betty Sanders, a library media specialist at NISD's Brooks Quinn Jones campus.
It's a crucial message for NISD children. The state has placed three Nacogdoches ISD elementary campuses under "improvement required" statuses due to poor reading scores.
"We have two years to improve scores. If not, at that time TEA will look at taking the district over," said Sandra Dowdy, the assistant superintendent for academic services.
The district wants to show enough progress in the two years it has in hopes the Texas Education Agency will let the district operate on its own for another year.
"We got to retain good teachers, and we have to do quality staff development with those teachers," Dowdy said. "Not only pay them more, but we have to allow them to have ownership in the program."
"Charlotte's Web" teaches children about friendship and loyalty. The lesson could be utilized by the district as it strives to achieve its goals for students and staff.
This spring, a curriculum committee will look at how reading is taught in Nacogdoches ISD classrooms. They'll study how much phonics is used and the teaching program's consistency.