Early literacy law seems to be working - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Early literacy law seems to be working

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Legislation designed to help Iowa elementary school students read better seems to be working.

More than 60 percent of Iowa schools are showing improvement after lawmakers enforced stricter guidelines to teach reading to grade school students, kindergarten through third grade.

According to scores, Waterloo is doing great!

Lou Henry Elementary School second grade student, Daniya Gordon, and her literacy coach, Danielle Hakeman, take time out of the school day to work on young Daniya's reading comprehension.

"I love to read now," Daniya said.

But, Daniya said that hasn't always been the case.

"I didn't like reading, because some words were hard in books, and I threw the books," Daniya said.

"It's just really exciting to see their excitement, and to see them ready to read, and ready to write in first grade and kindergarten, even," Mrs. Hakeman said.

Waterloo saw the biggest growth among urban Iowa schools with a nearly 15 percent improvement in reading scores.

Students say they love to read now.

"It's amazing. I get to do things I never did before. I get to learn new things each day," Daniya said.

"I love our district, and it feels good to know our hard work is paying off, and our kids are able to do things they couldn't do," Mrs. Hakeman said.

With new reading programs in place since 2014, educators say 8,923 more students are now reading proficiently.

"Yeah, I think we knew we had some pieces we knew we wanted to work on. In education, you're always constantly improving and looking for things you can do better," Mrs. Hakeman said.

Teachers say under new guidelines, students are tested three times a school year.

If students aren't doing well, educators now have time set aside to help work on better reading and writing.

The early literacy law was signed into place five years ago (in 2012) by Governor Terry Branstad as an effort to improve stagnant reading scores.

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