JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Knowing that bat and ball start with the same letter is a beginning reading skill, just like recognizing that bat and hat rhyme.
Some students don't catch on as quickly as others. If it's not caught right away, a young child could suffer the rest of his or her life.
The Duval County Public School District has incorporated Nemours BrightStart! program for the past four years. This year, Jadey and Yaxiris are learning to read with the program.
Vangie Podes has been teaching the program for three years.
"It is a program to help those at risk children, catch up to their peers hopefully, and be prepared and ready for kindergarten, and it's a program that's getting them ready for reading," says Vangie Podes. She's been teaching Nemours BrightStart! for three years at San Jose Elementary School.
Dr. Laura Bailet is the executive director of the program. She helped to write the lesson plans.
"When you intervene early, you can close that gap for most kids," says Dr. Bailet.
She offers some things to look for as students learn to read. They should know alphabet letter names and sounds, understand the concept of rhyming, understand sound patters in words, and recognize words that start with the same sound, like ball and bat.
"We can identify children very early and if they don't get the help, the chances increase every school year, that they're never going to catch up," says Dr. Bailet.
Teachers like Ms. Podes pull the students aside twice a week, and go through the fundamentals of reading. She says it's rewarding seeing the students finally get it.
"It's like that lightbulb that comes on, and you think, wow, they got it, it makes you feel good, and that's what we're here to do is make a difference, and help these children be successful," says Podes.
Nemours BrightStart! has screened more than 13,000 children for reading readiness. Parents with concerns about their students' reading can get screened. Just call Nemous BrightStart at (904) 697-3778 or (877) 878-3118 or click on this link.
First Coast News