WFISD first to test Pre-Reading Program

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls ISD became the first school district in Texas to test a new pre-reading program that will teach children basic reading skills before they start kindergarten.

Michael Kuhrt, the WFISD superintendent, said reading is a big challenge for many kids in the district and hopes this program can help change that.

"We have so many students in our district that show up to kindergarten not prepared," Kuhrt said. "They're not as prepared as we would like them to be."

Kuhrt said he noticed this issue and decided to try something new with, Upstart, a new online pre-reading program.

"It develops early reading skills, literacy skills, and language skills. Basically, parents spend 20 minutes a day, five days a week with their children." Kuhrt said.

This is a program that Dominiquez Dial, an early head start teacher, will not only encourage parents to sign up their kids when they're ready but it's also something she wished her daughter could have participated in.

"She was never in any kind of programs," Dial said. "She would just stay at home with a babysitter but when she got to head start she had a big vocabulary but she didn't recognize a lot of things that she may have recognized if she was reading books like 15 minutes a day."

The online program will come with a Chrome book, Wifi access from the district, and a personal care representative at no charge. All thanks to West Foundation and Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit.

"I think we're going to be the first of many," Kuhrt said. "We're excited to do it and we're looking forward to the results. We're going to monitor our student's results over the next two years because this is a two-year pilot. We'll see if those results can be continued."

The program will start in January and the district is looking for 100 families with 4-year-olds who are not currently enrolled in any pre-k, head start, or child care program to test it out. Parents have to enroll their kids by Friday.

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