Cultivating Kids For College

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"AU and AW. What do we know about au and aw? Aww... they're in love and they always say aw."

They're only seven years old, but this second grade classroom at Moss Elementary School, in Sparks, is taking advantage of a teaching tool to read.

Kathy Striejewske, a second grade teacher, says she found the tool that has only proved a success.
"We had a third to about a half of our students reading at or below grade level at the beginning of the year. Within three months, 90-to-95-percent are at or above grade level."

Students are expected to be able to read by the end of 1st grade, but according to the Nation's Report Card, kids aren't getting better when it comes to literacy.
In fact, testing shows a stalemate of improvement.

The program in this class is used around the country, dubbed "Secret Stories..." developed by a teacher in Texas.
It uses a child's visual, auditory, and motor skills to de-code letters and words.

"When kids cannot decode words, it makes learning pretty much impossible because they're concentrating on de-coding instead of comprehension. Once they can de-code, we can teach to learn, instead of teach to read."

"Do you have your book? Books that you need.
We're just going to use a chair.

Books aren't used a lot in this 8th grade physical science classroom often at Swope Middle School.
Teacher, Laurie Hayworth says her reason ensures these kids have a better understanding of science in the world.
"The kids are young enough to appreciate, yet old enough to get the concept."

It's a concept even our President says needs more emphasis in schools.
He recently proposed spending 136 billion dollars in the next ten years to enhance science and math in our schools.

Hayworth says it needs to be worth it to the kids though, and presenting it at their level does not mean she is "dumbing" down any information.
"Physical science and life science is out there in the world and so bringing science from that perspective just makes more sense for them."