01/04/07 — Educator helps students learn to read better through 'Earobics'

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Educator helps students learn to read better through 'Earobics'

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 4, 2007 1:51 PM

Christy Haley, the reading coach at School Street Elementary School, says her role in the education process is that of an "encourager in the hallway."

Her background experience includes being a teacher at the elementary and middle school levels, as well as teaching special education and being a reading consultant and girls basketball coach.

In 2005 she became an "Earobics coach," responsible for a program by that name implemented at School Street to improve students' reading levels.

Earobics is designed to create reading and educational advantages for students and is a resource to help bridge gaps and ensure students have the opportunity to succeed. It is being used in kindergarten through third grade.

Ms. Haley primarily works with teachers, but she helps assess student needs and creates individualized programs. She analyzes data, reviews reports, coordinates parent workshops, leads training, and encourages interaction between students and teachers.

Her job is to observe the educators and assist where needed, she said.

"We look at the children and see who's not progressing well," she said. "And if the teachers need materials or training, I get trainers or I go and get training myself."

Following the holidays, first graders and parents of exceptional children will be invited to come to the classroom for a workshop, she said, where they can observe teachers doing lessons and have a question and answer session on ways parents can work with their children at home.

Ms. was recently recognized by the Earobics program for her efforts implementing the program. Consultants nominated her after hearing "we were doing great things here at School Street," she said.

But she quickly pointed out that other reading coaches in the school system also are working to help students become better readers.

"It's kind of humbling because I'm not the only reading coach. There's actually six in Wayne County," Ms. Haley said.

She is one of two of those teachers funded through the "Reading First" federal grant. This year, the school system added four other reading coaches with money from other sources.

The supplemental reading efforts are proving to be successful, with some impressive results, school officials have said. Not only are there improvements in reading and comprehension skills, but students' confidence has also improved, Ms. Haley said.

"Our saying here is 'embrace the whole child' and we definitely are,' " she said.