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More books in Guilford County Schools classrooms

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Making reading fun is one goal of a new program offered in many Guilford County Schools classrooms this year.

The school system paired up with The American Reading Company to provide more reading options to students in grades fourth through ninth who are taking English and language arts.

The program, which launched in 114 schools for the 2016-2017 year, provides about 400,000 books throughout the district for schools that chose to opt into the program.

Since reading books is required in English and language arts classes, students now have the ability to choose from several books that fit into their course curriculum because of the program.

Whitney Oakley is the executive director of elementary curriculum with Guilford County Schools. She says the program allows for a teacher to identify what reading level a student is at and then find a book with the student that caters to that child’s ability. The books provided range in skill level.

The school system has invested millions into this program, which so far, Oakley says is helping students with their literacy growth. She says reading is an important foundation.

“We need students to be readers -- and not just in a reading class. But in science, in social studies, in math, before school and after school, and in college and in their career,” Oakley said.

In addition to providing several book options, the program emphasizes small group sessions and writing projects related to the books that students are reading.

"Students would say, 'I have so many more books in my classroom. I get to choose what I want to read.' I think that's been a shift for us in the past year of this program implementation," Oakley said. "The standards are the same, we are still delivering grade level instruction in line with our state standards, it’s just how we deliver it with this program that’s different this year."

The school system's future plans for this program are unknown at this time.