For the first time ever the Dougherty County school system is adding a phonics program. Many teachers are overjoyed and are hoping this will help make sure every child is reading on the right grade level.
Pat Taylor, a kindergarten teacher at Lake Park elementary school, has been teaching for 27 years. She says one of the most important things she teaches her students is phonics.
"I'm lucky to work with three phenomenal teachers and we've worked together to come up with a program very close to Saxon Phonics where we've followed the same type order because the county didn't offer it. We've begged for three years," said Taylor.
Recently Dougherty County school board members approved buying the Saxon phonics program for the entire school system.
"This is the greatest thing Dougherty could have done for us. Because we'll all be on the same level so when children move and we get a new student from another school, we'll all be on the same page," said Taylor.
School officials say the Saxon phonics program will make for better readers and better students.
"I'm a former reading intervention teacher and I taught phonics as a reading intervention teacher and we've had parts of programs throughout the years, but we've never had anything that's explicit and systematic and that's taught the same way throughout the system. And Saxon does that," said Deborah Scheer, the DCSS Elementary Content Coordinator.
And Taylor is hopeful that with this program, every child in Dougherty County will know how to read, and enjoy doing it.
"If you do not have a solid reading base you're not going to be successful. It covers into everything, social studies, science, math, language arts, everything," said Taylor.
Teachers will begin training to use the K through 3 program this month. The full program will begin in August on the first day of school.
The school system is paying for the program with Race to the Top money.