President Pushes for Better Reading

President Bush wants all children through the third grade to be able to read. Reading is the most important lesson in every elementary school. Teachers say targeting K through third graders establishes their reading skills for life.

"Up through the third grade, we really focus on a lot of our reading skills because we want our children to develop those early because every subject later on builds on reading skills," Saucier Elementary Third-Grade Teacher Lori Windham says.

"They're learning what it is they're going to need when they get to fourth and fifth grade where they're reading to learn because they have the content areas, the social studies, science, where the vocabulary is much harder," Pass Road Elementary Teacher Jeannie Cooper says.

Educators say teaching kids to read can be a real tough lesson for them. Teachers say it all depends on the preconceived notions about reading students bring to the classroom, and how much they know.

"If we're doing a unit on clowns, if they've never been to a circus or they've never had a clown story read to them by an adult at home then we've got to go back to the very beginning and bring them up to the knowlege of those children that are already familiar with clowns," Cook says.

"If a child's real eager, and a child's been read to a lot at home before they come to school, it makes our job a lot easier," Windham says. "Sometimes it's difficult because some children come to school with a very negative attitude toward reading."

Teachers are determined to change negative attitudes by making reading fun, and a lesson the kids look forward to everyday.