Volusia County Florida has an unusual approach to transforming middle school reading. For starters, they are dropping their core reading course.
District administrators believe they have a better way to boost reading skills while giving students a wide variety of choices in courses that will keep them interested in school longer, and maybe encourage career interests.
Volusia county has seen a small dip in the number of elementary students coming into the middle schools. One factor contributing to the decline in number may be wider choices for students, such as home schooling, private and charter schools, and virtual instruction.
While reading classes will still be offered to students who struggle, the new electives range from journalism to humanities, to mixed media. Teachers will be required to include literacy standards in the course content, so that proficiency in reading is a targeted outcome of the course.
“It’s not an elimination of core reading,” said Ormond Beach Middle School Principal Matt Krajewski. “It’s really an infusion of core reading into all of the other subjects so it would actually increase the opportunities for reading.”