The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 6, 2013

Reading program an award winner

Windber syllabus focuses on individuals

— Ever try to hold a 7-year-old’s attention for more than a few minutes?

It’s not easy. In fact, sometimes, it can be darn near impossible. Like when you’re trying to get one to concentrate on a subject that holds no personal interest to him or her.

The educators at Windber Area Elementary School certainly understand the problem. That’s why the school district has decided to switch to a reading program more focused on individuals called “Good Habits, Good Reading.”

The program will replace the long-used anthologies with a library of fiction, nonfiction and “interest-driven” minibooks.

The program seems like a great idea to us. Rather than trying to force a couple of dozen youngsters to read at the same level, at the same pace and to have the same attention span, Windber is taking a proactive approach.

Reading teachers will get dozens of small storybooks at various reading levels, Dean of Students Jessica Shuster told our David Hurst.

“Maybe a student isn’t interested in a particular book. We’ll find them one that they are interested in,” Shuster said.

The cost of the program should be about equal to the savings from no longer buying new reading anthologies, Windber Superintendent Rick Huffman said.

The individualized attention, the relative cost and the potential for a better education system make this sound like a best-seller.

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