Virginia Weighing Merits of ESL Programs | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Virginia Weighing Merits of ESL Programs

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Virginia's students have a problem: many of them aren't reading on the levels that they should be by third grade. Students who have not caught up by then often fall behind in other courses, and are unlikely to ever catch up. The state's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission is weighing recommendations to enhance third grade reading performance statewide.

Delegate Johnny Joannou found it hard to support English as A Second Language program development. He said his immigrant background had socio-economic challenges and many children of his generation overcame those challenges without programs.

JLARC project leader Kimberly Sarte, explained why she things there is such a disparity in learning between older and current generations.

"I think that some kids aren't getting the support they need at home," she says. "Perhaps there are other reasons outside of the school that may cause them to come in kind of deficient. A lot of kids are going to have difficulty. And so if you can raise the level of the classroom program with some of the strategies that we'll discuss, that's obviously going to help these kids."

The proposals include providing more engaging reading materials, book rooms with those works, and using new digital technology.

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