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Selma schools starts required reading program

All Selma City Schools students will have their noses in books this summer.

The system-wide required summer reading and math curriculum starts now.

“There’s a gap in learning over summer vacations,” said Dr. Verdell Dawson, administrative assistant to the superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “This year we are trying to eliminate that gap.”

Kindergarten through fourth-grade students will be required to complete summer reading and fifth through12th-grade students will be required to complete both reading and math assignments.

“We selected these two subjects because these are the foundations of everything that you learn,” Dawson said.

Students either received a math packet and a required list and list of enrichment reading, books suggested to read if choosing to read more than the required books, at the end of school, or will receive the lists with the final report card that is mailed home.

The lists will also be available at the library.

The Selma City Schools website will also have links for students with supplemental math problems available.

Requiring summer assignments was suggested to Selma City School administration from the High Schools That Work and Middle Schools That Work programs, a school improvement initiative for high school leaders and teachers.

Individual teachers have required summer work in previous years, but this is the first time the entire system will require it.

Within the first three weeks of school in the fall, students will take a multiple choice test on the materials from the books and math topics.

The grade for these will count as a test grade in the first nine-week grading period.

Students and parents must obtain the books on their own accord, whether that be purchasing or checking out the book from the library.

Dawson suggests sharing books or asking for assistance to purchase books from churches if purchasing all the books is not an option.

Although the required books will be available at the library, Library Director Becky Nichols recommends purchasing some books.

“They’re also good books for a home library,” Nichols said.

Carter Drug Store will also have required reading texts for all grades available for purchase starting next week.

Special orders will also be available if a desired book is not on the shelves.

Students in kindergarten through fourth grade are required to read two books from any of the selected authors for each grade. Parent or guardian and child will then complete a summary of the book on the provided worksheet.

“The idea is that the parents will discuss the book with the child,” Dawson said.

The adult will then sign the sheet signifying the student read the book.

Fifth-grade students are required to read “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White and suggested to read another book from a selected list. They will take an Accelerated Reader test within the first three weeks of school on the required book.

Students in grades sixth through 12th are required to read two books.

Accelerated students will have one additional book beyond the required amount per grade.