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Manchester to consider purchase of literacy program

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 23. 2017 10:11PM

MANCHESTER — A school board subcommittee is scheduled to review a request to purchase and implement a new literacy initiative to city high schools, after city aldermen approved a transfer of $10,000 to support the proposal.

The school board’s Committee on Curriculum and Instruction will take up the request to purchase and implement the new Reading Instructional Goals for Older Readers (RIGOR) program tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the aldermanic chambers at City Hall.

According to Wendy Perron, director of English Learner (EL) Instruction for the Manchester School District, over the last two academic years high school EL faculty have worked to align EL courses with the district’s academic standards, while identifying strengths and weaknesses.

One weakness Perron said staff identified is the district’s approach to literacy instruction for students with limited formal education, or those with beginning levels of English literacy.

Perron said she has identified a program, RIGOR, that breaks down literacy instruction into a five-step process.

The five steps are similar to those used in elementary reading instruction:

• Develop phonemic awareness and phonics skills;

• Build vocabulary;

• Increase reading comprehension and fluency;

• Use writing to expand and reinforce literary practices;

• Data analysis to improve and inform instruction

The program will be used at all Manchester high schools with pre-literate English learners or students reading at early-grade reading levels.

Kits for the program cost $8,795 each and include 288 books, teachers’ guides, student assessment books, interactive e-books and vocabulary cards. The EL department is seeking approval to purchase a complete set for Central High School, Memorial High School and West High School. School officials believe Memorial can share materials with Manchester School of Technology as needed, because “MST HS English learners are typically at higher reading levels and will not need this program,” according to a memo from the school district to committee members.

The total cost of the proposal is $26,385. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen has approved a transfer of $10,000 to support the request. School officials propose using federal Title III funds to cover the remaining balance of $16,385.

If approved, the request will be sent to the full Board of School Committee for approval next month.

Education Local and County Government Manchester

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