Students react negatively to NA school district summer reading

Results from the New Albany School District’s summer reading program were discussed at last week’s New Albany School Board meeting and much of the student reaction was negative, school officials say.

Before school ended in May, a majority of the students from the three schools in grades 3-12 were assigned summer reading assignments that were due on the second day that the students returned from school for the fall semester.

Lecia Stubblefield, Director of Curriculum, Federal Programs, and Transportation for the New Albany School District, came before the school board on Sept. 7 to discuss what the grades were like and what the reactions were from the summer reading assignments.

“After the summer reading assignment, we wanted to evaluate the grades and we wanted to hear from students and parents,” said Stubblefield. “The percentage of students who turned it in on day two was 81 percent at New Albany Middle School and 82 percent at New Albany High School. Data was not compiled at the elementary school for this. The grade that turned in the highest amount was this year’s 11th graders with 91 percent. The lowest grade was the 8th grade with 68 percent.”

A couple of weeks ago parent and student surveys were sent out and every student in grades 3-12 was surveyed. In addition, there were also 300 random surveys sent to parents, 30 surveys per grade. So far, approximately forty surveys have been returned.

it.” “You shouldn’t take our summer.” “This is ridiculous.” “This is lame.” Few students thought that the summer reading assignment was a good idea.

The district also compared positive and negative comments per grade and said that at NAES, 59 percent were positive and 41 percent were negative, at NAMS, 25 percent were positive and 75 percent were negative and at NAHS, only 16 percent of the students were positive.

“The vast majority of middle and high school students thought it was a terrible idea. Parent surveys were 50 percent positive, 50 percent negative,” said Stubblefield.

Stubblefield said that some of the parent’s responses are as follows: “It’s a great thing – I am glad that you are taking a stand and making more of an emphasis on reading.” or “You are taking my child’s summer and I think it is a bad idea.”

“We were concerned about the number of students who understood the assignment, so we asked the students that on the surveys. 86 percent of the students at NAES understood the assignments, 76 percent at NAMS, and 69 percent at the high school understood the assignments. Parents commented that they didn’t understand the assignment either,” said Stubblefield.

Sixty-three percent of students at the high school said that they put forth a good effort, while 78 percent at the middle school said they did and 84 percent said they did at the elementary school.

New Albany High School 10th grade English teacher Kim Day originally presented the summer reading proposal to the school board in March. She said, “Reading during the summer months would benefit all students by improving reading comprehension and increasing retention of literary analysis skills learned during the school year.”

New Albany School Superintendent Dr. Charles Garrett, said, “Everybody that is in the regular classes and not in accelerated or gifted classes will have an assignment due the second day of class.”

 The school district will continue to look over the comments from the students and parents and make some decisions before next year.  

About Chris Elkins

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