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Alabama Reading Initiative visits Kitty Stone Elementary

It’s one thing to know you’re doing good work, but it’s another to help set the standard.
We were proud to welcome representatives from the Alabama Reading Initiative today so they could observe our teachers and students as they worked on literacy skills – something ARI wanted to do, a representative said, because Kitty Stone students had performed far above the standard “proficient” ratings the state is looking for.
“We want to find out where our schools are shining above that,” explained Libby Balazik, an education specialist from ARI. “And that’s why we’re here, to really see what you’re doing … and all the things that could help that growth.”
Balazik was joined by Tammie Sullivan, Melanie Glover and our regional ARI representative, Sherry Brown, on a tour of our kindergarten through second-grade classrooms while reading lessons were held.
It only took a few minutes to find some interesting lessons under way.
Second-grade teacher Karen Nelson worked with students on their sounds – “G says ‘juh’ and ‘guh,’” and ‘S says ‘sssss’” – and how those sounds can stay the same from one word to another, like the “J” in “job” and “joke.”
Meanwhile, kindergarten teacher Britney Cain was working with students to count the number of words in sentences. As an adult it’s easy to take counting words for granted, but for a first-timer, it’s not easy to realize “We went to recess” is just four words – that extra syllable in “recess” is tricky!
Kitty Stone instructional coach Meighan Bannister showed the ARI folks around the school, and said that she was happy to have their attention on the school and the above-and-beyond education provided to our students.
“On the one hand, I kind of feel like we’re just doing what we’re supposed to do,” Bannister said. “But then we feel proud about it, because our teachers believe in the science of reading … and these proven techniques.”