Letter: SAGE program provides lifeline for struggling readers by Julie Krouze
Our children have been fortunate in the Rhinelander School District to have the SAGE program for kindergarten through 6th grade who struggle in reading and math. SAGE stands for Student Achievement Guarantee in Education.
This program is immediate and intensive. Teachers diagnose the reading difficulty a child has early on, and then prescribe an intervention or strategy to effectively raise reading ability to grade level. The SAGE program allows this work to be done as it keeps class sizes at a ratio of one teacher to 18 students and provides the opportunities for teachers to take individual time with those who struggle and move them forward.
This is done with specific and accurate testing methods where results are shared with teachers, specialists and principals. Educators directly work with the child to come to agreement on what interventions should be made. Empowering young readers to be successful and to love reading can give them the tools they will need for a quality adult life. The SAGE program provides this opportunity and can truly be a lifeline for some children.
When a student falls behind in the early grades, difficulties increase, frustrations increase and the problem grows.
Many of our social ills can be attributed to illiteracy. Did you know…
• An estimated 30 million Americans over 16 years old cannot perform simple and everyday literacy activities.
• Of adults with below basic reading comprehension, 55 percent did not graduate high school.
• Only an estimated 13 percent of adult Americans can perform complex and challenging literacy activities
• Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read aloud to every day than are children in families with incomes at or above the poverty line.
• Of America’s prison inmates, 60 percent are functionally illiterate and 85 percent of all juvenile offenders have reading problems.
• Approximately 50 percent of the nation’s unemployed youth ages 16 to 21 are functionally illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs.
• Of all teachers, 54 percent have limited English proficient (LEP) students in their classrooms, yet only one-fifth of teachers feel very prepared to serve them.
• It is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent each year on students who repeat a grade because they have reading problems.
• Eighty five percent of unwed mothers and 68 percent of those arrested have low literacy skills.
(Statistics from www.dosomething.org)
SAGE provides the needed immediate, intensive interventions to raise a child’s reading ability now. Without SAGE, some of our children will fall into the statistics above. It is urgent that they get the help now. A vote of “yes” on Feb. 19 will allow this program to continue to keep Rhinelander the high quality school district it has been. Let’s take care of our children and continue serving well those whose futures on whom we will depend.
Julie K. Krouze, Rhinelander