Vail Valley students on their way to literacy |

Vail Valley students on their way to literacy

Lauren Glendenning
Vail Valley, CO Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyVail Valley resident Jose Luis Arce reads with his son, Manuel, during Meadow Mountain Elementary School's Family Literacy Night on Thursday in Minturn, Colorado.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” Schools always teach students that reading is fun, but students in Colorado’s Vail Valley have to figure that out on their own.

For students who have trouble reading or can’t read at all, it makes something that should be fun more of a task. The Title 1 education program in Eagle County tries to help those children through those tough learning times so they can reach the fun times.

Title 1 is a federal program designed to “improve academic achievement of the disadvantaged,” according to the U.S. Department of Education. The program targets students who need the most help, typically low-income families or non-native English speakers. The program gives special instruction to its students during the school day in order to speed up their reading progress, says Brooke Skjonsby, Eagle County School District spokeswoman.

At Meadow Mountain Elementary, one of the seven designated Title 1 schools in the Eagle County School District that focuses on literacy, teacher Sandi Lowe is trying to grow the bond of literacy between students and parents.

She says one of the biggest goals is for students to be able to comprehend what they’re reading.

“Reading does no good if you don’t comprehend,” she says.

Lowe and Meadow Mountain Elementary recently hosted a literacy night for the school’s 48 Title 1 students and their parents. The students read poems they had written and read to their parents. The group also made gingerbread houses to encourage more social interaction and bonding.

Lowe says being read to or reading with parents is a proven success for reading achievement. That’s why it’s so important to include parents in lessons, she says.

“We want to support parents and show them that literacy is important and show them it’s easy to do,” she says. “Even if you just sit and look at pictures with your kids, it’s sending the message books, and reading, is important ” it speaks volumes.”

There are 294 Title 1 students in the county’s schools, says Heather Eberts, executive director of elementary education for the district. The federal government provides the funding for the programs, which this school year was $381,949. The money goes toward teachers’ salaries, and the district also applies for federal grants each year that help support the costs of the program.

The extra funds have allowed the district to hire reading teachers, Eberts says. Every elementary school in the county also met Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, this year. AYP is a Colorado Department of Education classification requiring elementary schools to have a 95 percent participation rate in state reading and math assessments, reach targets for either proficiency or decrease non-proficiency in reading and math, and reach targets for advanced level of performance in reading and math.

Title 1 is a federal education program designed to help disadvantaged children receive a quality education. In Eagle County, Title 1:

– Focuses on literacy

– Teaches 294 students in seven of the county’s nine elementary schools

For more information on the program, visit

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