School Gets Creative Amid Poor Reading Scores

Student in a library | Image by UfaBizPhoto

One Fort Worth ISD campus is tackling lackluster reading scores with a karaoke session.

The M.H. Moore Elementary library has been offering a fun new activity to not only provide students with an incentive to meet their reading targets but also to further promote literacy.

Students use their spot reading to follow along with their favorite songs on a screen in a karaoke session.

“They already sing songs. Now, they know the words. They’re sight reading,” explained librarian Linda Abeyta, according to KERA News.

Since Mary Jane Bowman was hired to improve student literacy in Fort Worth ISD this summer, the district has rolled out various strategies to promote reading.

For instance, the reading curriculum got a boost from state-approved tools like Amplify, which is reportedly designed based on the science of reading. Teachers have also been receiving help from instructional coaches while planning their reading lessons and teaching the skill.

However, a lot of work still needs to be done, at least according to the Texas Education Agency’s latest accountability reports.

Fort Worth ISD logged alarming STAAR scores in both reading and math, with 38% of its students scoring at grade level or above in reading and 25% in math. Moreover, only 32% of third graders scored at grade level in 2023, a 6% decrease from 2022. Since 2017, the district’s reading rates have consistently underperformed.

In another struggling North Texas district, Dallas ISD, only 43% of students scored at grade level or above in reading, and 39% scored at grade level or above in math.

Both districts have also seen falling student enrollment numbers. As previously reported by The Dallas Express, in the case of Fort Worth ISD, this has even prompted an initiative to “rightsize” its facilities. Its campuses have been engineered to fit a student body of up to 90,000, yet only 72,783 students are actually enrolled. This represents a significant drop from the 87,233 students enrolled in district schools in 2016.

With regard to the poor reading results, Bowman remarked that district officials have taken responsibility and are working towards improvement.

“We own that data, and we know that’s an area we definitely need to make sure that our students are prepared for what they’re being asked to do and that they have equal opportunity to be able to master things like reading expectations,” Bowman said, per KERA. “We want our kids to read.”

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