DC public schools stress the importance of reading at a young age

D.C. public schools are emphasizing the importance of reading for young students. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Chancellor Lewis Ferebee paid a visit Tuesday to Barnard Elementary School in the Petworth neighborhood, where two fourth graders recently achieved perfect scores in national reading assessment tests. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Fourth-graders Starr Branch (left) and Maeve Anderson (right) with Principal Grace Reid . (middle)
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D.C. public schools are emphasizing the importance of reading in the early grades.

Chancellor Lewis Ferebee paid a visit Tuesday to Barnard Elementary School in the Petworth neighborhood, where two fourth graders recently achieved perfect scores in national reading assessment tests.

There are nine pre-K classes at the school, and Ferebee settled into a chair in one classroom to read to his quiet and attentive audience.



“We know that we’re on the right path. DCPS, despite all of the challenges of the pandemic, we came out … with steady progress on our literacy results,” said Ferebee about recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The two Barnard fourth graders, who got perfect scores in the national reading assessment, both began at the school in pre-K.

“It’s sort of like a process before the test and in the test,” explained 9-year-old Maeve Anderson. “Before the test, your teachers encourage you and help you learn and build you up for the test. And in the test you read the book, you answer the questions and you just try your best,” Anderson said about her perfect score.

Starr Branch, 10, said her perfect score is the result of her love of reading and learning.

“I think it’s about believing in what you learn and what you’ve been taught … my favorite genre is actually nonfiction because I love reading about history and about what happened before me and before my time,” Branch said.

Barnard Elementary Principal Grace Reid said it’s early reading that opens the door to knowledge.

“We’re very, very proud of our kids. Despite the fact that we are a Title 1 school, that does not define us. We get out there and get the work done. I firmly believe that the job of the elementary school is to teach kids to read,” Reid said.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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