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Reading important for CHHS students

Charles Henderson High School students are learning how to localize national and world events and improving their reading comprehension too.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, teachers and students spend 15 minutes in their classes reading.

The program is called CHHS Reads.

"The secret to success is to read as much as you can," said CHHS media specialist Sharon Rhodes.

This year, the students have spent their CHHS Reads time reading and discussing articles in the U.S. News and World Report magazine.

The Library Club helps promote the program.

"We wanted students to have objective, up-to-date news coverage," Rhodes said.

"It's important for them to know what's going on in our country and around the world."

To accomplish both the reading objective and the news objective, Rhodes turned to the U.S. News and Classroom Program.

Through the classroom program, the magazine offers schools subscriptions for 49 cents per issue.

They also provide teachers with on-line lesson materials, quizzes and questions about the articles conveniently categorized by topic and date.

English teacher Libby Doty said before children can learn, they have to learn to read.

U.S. News and World Report gives teachers reading material to use in their classroom.

"It gives them an extra tool to use," Doty said.

Each month, CHHS receives 655 magazines-one for every student and teacher.

When the classes are through with the magazine for the month, the students take them home.

"It's great for the kids," Rhodes said.

"And when they're through, they can take it home to their families.

So 655 issues are spread through the family and the community each month."

Rhodes said the articles keep the students interested in the world around them.

The follow-up questions allow them to make local and personal applications.

This month, students have been able to study a U.S. News and World Report article on Pfc. Johnny Brown who died April 14 in Iraq.

Rhodes said the article was a good example of how students learn to localize national and world news.

As part of the discussion on the article, students are asked a number of questions about the article's content such as why Brown joined the Army and how his attitude about Iraq changed after his experiences with the war.

Other questions take the students one step further in their reading comprehension and ask what the they can learn from Brown's life, whether or not they think he is a hero and what the article reveals about the author.

"We're trying to find interesting things for the kids to read and learn about," Rhodes said.

"It is so important for them to be current."

Doty said her students enjoy reading the magazine.

"When I hand them out, they read it," she said.

"They like to read the articles because they're focused on the world and its happenings, but they are on a student level."

After this year's "trial run," Doty said the magazine program is worth keeping.

"Anytime students can read something that isn't directly related to school, they'll enjoy it," Doty said.

This school year, the program was funded with a foundational grant, but next year there is no such promise of funding.

"This is the first year we've done it and it has been great," Rhodes said.

"We'd like to continue doing it and I can't help but think there is a business somewhere or a member of our community that can help us do that."