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New program helps students improve reading

With their newly established after-school tutoring program, the teachers and administrators at Payne Elementary are working towards helping students with low level reading skills catch-up with their peers.

Principal Arthur Capers said the program is being funded through a large federal grant the school received in early December.

The Comprehensive School Reform grant, which will be distributed over three years, is being used to purchase several books and materials from the Massachusetts-based Voices Publishing.

“We will be teaching through literature,” said Capers. “The students will learn (about) concepts like freedom, prejudice, citizenship and conflict resolution.”

Capers said the program is specifically targeting struggling readers to help give them a boost.

Teachers in the program will meet with students every day from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. to work on different topics designed to improve

reading skills.

On Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays, the focus will be on academic tutorials.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, Capers said, will have topics in fine arts.

“The main component of this program is character education,” Capers said.

The principal added that he feels the after-school tutoring will not only make a large difference in their reading test scores, it will strengthen their character as well.

A representative from Voices Publishing will be making monthly visits to Payne in order to train the teachers for the program and demonstrate the best ways to use the materials provided.

In addition to serving the needs of students, Capers said, the program will also be available to help their parents.

Payne will offer their parents computer literacy training, along with the option of taking the fine arts tutoring with their children.

Capers and his staff say they have full confidence that their after-school program will work to greatly improve the lives, and reading skills, of their students.