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Guilford County Schools to emphasize literacy

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford County Schools is putting a new and revived emphasis on literacy this year, according to school leaders at a "back-to-school" media briefing Wednesday.

Research since 2008 showed students were not reaching literacy benchmarks to make them proficient readers in the future.

You can find the data here.

In April, GCS kicked off a "Roadmap 2 Reading" campaign to encourage students to log their reading minutes outside of class. The goal will be to map a trail from coast to coast, each minute equally one mile on the map.

The District is also switching to "Fundations," a program which will be new for K-3 students this school year. The program teaches students to examine word structure and tackle difficult words and sentences through skill instead of memorization.

"One of the biggest changes parents will see is that students will not be coming home with spelling lists as they've been doing in the past. The idea is to teach kids how to analyze word-formation and learn the rules of reading other than just memorizing words," explained Dr. Jocelyn Becoats, Chief Curriculum and Organizational Development Officer for Guilford County Schools.

Dr. Becoats compared the processes in the new program to math, in which you don't memorize answers but decipher them.

She also said program called "Just Words" will replace "Read 180" as the middle school literacy intervention program.