Duval County Public Schools Launches “Read it Forward Jax” | Politics

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Duval County Public Schools Launches “Read it Forward Jax”
Politics, Schools
Duval County Public Schools Launches “Read it Forward Jax”

Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) is proud to announce a comprehensive reading initiative aimed at raising the literacy rate of every student inside Duval County public schools. The “Read it Forward Jax” campaign will partner city, business, faith based and non-profit leaders throughout the community to share in helping teach Jacksonville’s children about the importance of reading.

“The launch of the Read it Forward literacy initiative shows the district is ready to aggressively invest in our student’s future. This campaign focuses on extending the amount of time children spend reading, while also providing professional development opportunities for our educators. Combining these elements with a massive community partnership will help ensure every Duval County Public School student is reading at grade level every year.”

The “Read it Forward Jax” initiative allows every member of the community to become engaged in encouraging the children of Jacksonville to read. In addition, there are two special ways the public can help, either through purchasing classroom libraries or a state of the art “TV Textbook.”

The “TV Textbook” is a breakthrough in educational technology, allowing high-quality reading lessons to take place inside the home. These small boxes hook up to a standard television, and can be used to teach highly engaging reading lessons. Research shows there is a television in nearly every home, and by utilizing this technology, the district is bridging the digital divide between homes with a computer and homes without. In the future, parents will also have the opportunity to use the boxes to learn new ways to read with their children. This summer, fifty of these boxes will be made available to students participating in a pilot program. Five hundred more will be placed in homes this fall.

DCPS has spent months reviewing data concerning Duval County’s students in order to create a comprehensive reading plan. The plan was tailor-made to cater to the needs of students in individual grade levels. Nationally renowned reading experts were called in to consult, including Dr. Richard Allington, Professor of Reading Education at University of Tennessee; Dr. Robert L. Lemons, Professor of Reading Education at Florida A&M University; Dr. Susan Newman, Professor of Reading Education at the University of Michigan; Dr. P. David Pearson, Professor of Language and Literacy at the University of California, Berkeley; Dr. Alfred Tatum, Associate Professor and Director of the UIC Reading Clinic, University of Illinois, Chicago; and Dr. Janet Allen, international reading consultant.

Those reading experts concluded that the if the district can build  a culture of reading coaches, media specialists, parents and other community stakeholders to support the effective teaching and learning of reading, students would start reading earlier and continue to do so throughout life.

“Duval County Public Schools are doing what every school system in Florida needs to do:  They are investing in reading at every grade level.  Even in difficult budget years, we must continue to look to the future and our city cannot succeed if our children cannot read proficiently.  I’d like to congratulate every business and non-profit that has stepped forward to help with Read It Forward Jacksonville.  Your commitment now will lead to a better life in the long run for every student in this county,” said Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton.

Mentoring agencies, non-profits and the business community will be tapped to provide human and material resources to enhance the literacy skills of our students. DCPS business partners have already begun purchasing new classroom libraries to enhance the student’s love of reading and increase their comprehension. Classroom libraries can be purchased by anyone, and there are several different levels of investment to suit any budget. The community’s support will be an integral piece of the “Read It Forward Jax” campaign. Businesses and city leadership have already stepped up to support the initiative.

The launch is the start of the Read it Forward Jax campaign, which will also include monthly reading events, in-school activities, and consistent professional development throughout the school year. The district is committed to raising the literacy rate of every student in Duval County public schools.

Duval County Public Schools operates 172 schools and serves approximately 123,000 students. The school district is committed to providing high quality educational opportunities that will inspire all students to acquire and use the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a global economy and culturally diverse world.

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