Program encourages kids to read

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN JUAN COUNTY -- Educators say too many high school students in San Juan County don't know how to read or only read at an elementary level.

To turn that around two high schools are taking part in a reading program called the Road to Success.

The program encourages kids to learn outside the classroom, by helping kids see the fun in reading by offering incentives -- like gift cards and computers to kids who read every day.

"In every school that we have the Road to Success reading program we automatically see a lift in reading comprehension,” said Rick Folkerson president of the Success in Education Foundation. “So what does that tell us? It tells us, if we can get kids to just pick up a book and read we can lift reading comprehension.”

Educators say kids usually learn to read by the third grade, after that they read to learn, but many of the students at Monument Valley and Whitehorse High Schools fell behind early on.

“A lot of them haven't learned to read and are still trying to stay in school,” said Jay Brasher, Executive Director of American Indian Services. “If you can't read it's pretty hard to do math or science or any of the other courses. We thought if we could help them with the program to read more proficiently then they would have a much better chance of graduating high school.”

American Indian Services says 45 percent of students in the area don't graduate from high school.

But Brasher said more kids will stay in school if they feel they can succeed.