Local Groups Work To Improve Columbus Reading Scores In Face Of Latest Report

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A federal review of Ohio standardized test scores shows Ohio fourth graders have not made improvements in reading assessments and the state has failed to close the gap between white and minority students.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress review shows black students continue to lag behind white students in Ohio.

The State Board of Education says the results prove that the state’s new Third Grade Reading Guarantee is necessary.

The Third Grade Reading Guarantee requires school districts to access student’s readings in kindergarten and provide help to those who need it.   Students who are unable to read at level by the third grade must be held back until they have caught up.

Many organizations say an effort is already underway to make sure central Ohio students earn better grades.

Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Homework Help Centers are one example of that

At the Franklinton branch, Homework Help Specialist Jessica Woodruff says she has seen an increase in the number of students who come for help.

"We are not tutors, we are just helpers,” said Jessica Woodruff  “We help them find answers to their school problems or homework problems, whatever they are working, on any subject K through 12."

While Homework Help centers aren't new, this year Columbus City Schools partnered with the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Now the centers' staff and volunteers know about lesson plans, testing schedules and the state's new Third Grade reading guarantee.

"The whole community is involved in trying to solve this problem, so the library being a part of this community we are trying to help these children succeed and do better,” said Woodruff.

Volunteers from businesses and community groups are also pitching in at schools.

Last month, 10TV introduced viewers to the "Reading Buddies" program.

With the Reading Buddies program, volunteers adopt a Columbus school and provide buddies to work with selected students.

Efforts, Jessica Woodruff says, should be encouraging even though the national test scores released were not.

"Here at the library we are all about creating relationships with the children that come in to our centers so that we can better assist them and just be there for them,” Woodruff said.