Reading is a learned process. Reading is something we will all do for the rest of our lives. There are no shortcuts to becoming a better reader. Students are more successful when a partnership is formed between parents and school staff. Working together improves student success. Your child’s education is important!Learning to read begins at home. Read aloud to your child every day. A child’s likelihood for success in kindergarten and the first grade depends on how much he/she has learned about reading before entering school. A child’s early experiences with books and language lay the foundation for success in learning to read. The most important thing parents/caregiver’s can do to foster early literacy is to provide an atmosphere that’s fun, verbal and stimulating, not school-like. The focus should not be on teaching, but on having fun with each child — offering plenty of opportunities to talk and be listened to, to read and be read to, and to sing and be sung to. You know you are on the right path when toddlers want their favorite book read over and over. Parents/caregivers are the key to a child’s success in learning to read. When parents read, talk or play with their child, they are stimulating and developing the child’s brain and building the connections that will become the building blocks for reading. Brain development research shows that reading aloud to a child every day increases the brain’s capacity for language and literacy skills and is the most important thing you can do to prepare your child for learning to read. Experts now know that the development of language and literacy skills begins at birth and children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90 percent of their eventual adult weight.Richland Springs staff works hard to have all students reading on grade level by grade 3. Struggling readers may receive extra reading instruction over and above the normal classroom reading instruction in our Tiered Reading Program, directed by Paula Miller. Elementary students are entered and exited in the program as needed. Parents are kept advised of their child’s progress. Teacher input may identify students with dyslexic tendencies. With parent permission, students may be tested for dyslexia by our dyslexia coordinator, Sue Ransom. Students identified as dyslexic are enrolled with parent permission into the district’s Scottish Rite Dyslexia Reading Program, directed by Peggy Tompkins. Parents of dyslexic students know that their child must work longer to complete assignments at school and homework at home. The dyslexia program teaches students coping skills and habits that allow them to become better readers and students. Students may remain in the dyslexia program from elementary through high school. Our librarian, Valerie Gossett, oversees the district’s Accelerated Reading program. She makes reading fun for elementary students. Students meeting their six-week reading goals are rewarded with an awards party at the end of each goal period. Junior high and high school students are encouraged by English teacher Patsy Hall to read over and above the normal English reading assignments. Pizza is used to encourage these older readers to develop a passion for reading.As you can see, our staff takes reading seriously at Richland Springs, while trying to have fun doing it. Remember-READERS ARE LEADERS.Community involvement is the key to our success!