WFISD gets $660,000 program aimed to help early childhood reading

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Starting this school year Wichita Falls Independent School District students will benefit from a $660,000 reading program, and it is all thanks to the generosity of the McCoy Foundation out of Wichita Falls.

"We are just honored the McCoy Foundation thinks that much of WFISD students," said Superintendent Michael Kuhrt, with the Wichita Falls ISD.

The board is having to front a little more than $436,800 to get the program going, but Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said he is excited and believes it will have a huge impact on students.

"Early literacy, early reading is a big deal for us," said Superintendent Kuhrt. "Students have to be prepared to read and we have to get them to reading on grade level as soon as possible."

Superintendent Kuhrt said the new program called Scientific Learning: Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant is designed to do just that and caters to the needs of all students.

He said students start school with so many different issues when it comes to reading, rather it is their home life, lack of parental involvement or lack of resources.

"When they get to us there can be gaps already from students that are reading, students that are not reading, students that know their letters and sounds and students that don't," said Superintendent Kuhrt.

He said that is why they decided to go with this computer based course, to bridge the gaps and improve the districts reading program as a whole.

"We found what we think is the best product out there," said Superintendent Kuhrt.

He said that is because it helps students with their brain processing, memory and even records students reading to track their growth.

"Kindergartners district wide will go through the program because our goal is to get them to reading by the time they leave kindergarten," said Superintendent Kuhrt.

He said that way they are ready to start reading in first grade and finish first grade reading on their grade level.

Older students will use it too. It will be a part of their reading class.

Ken Hines, who is a trustee with the McCoy Foundation said their goal is to impact early childhood education, specifically reading because they feel this is critical for students.

The foundation will be getting feedback from the district on the progress students are making with the new program.

Hines said they have supported the district in the past but this is their largest effort to date.

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