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LA GRANDE, Ore. – Sixty percent of Oregon’s school children are not reading at a fourth-grade level. Eastern Oregon University’s Associate Professor of Education Ronda Fritz wants that to change and has been appointed by Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek to the Governor’s Early Literacy Educator Preparation Council to lead the charge to improve reading outcomes in Oregon.
“EOU has been on the radar for some time now, the word is out that students coming from Eastern Oregon University are very successful at teaching young people to read,” Fritz said. “Some methods for teaching reading are better than others, that is based on scientific evidence. It’s bleak, with 60% of Oregon’s school children not reading at a 4th-grade level we need to do better, schools want to do better.”
Gov. Kotek created the Governor’s Early Literacy Preparation Council early this week and tasked the leadership group with developing recommendations to strengthen educator preparation programs for teaching reading and writing in Oregon schools.
Fritz, who specializes in elementary education and early literacy instruction, will Co-Chair the group of not more than 20 members, with Susan Gardner, the Dean of the College of Education at Oregon State University.
“This needs to happen at the university level,” Fritz said. “We need to do the best we can to make sure all children, regardless of socioeconomic status or background, are reading.”
Fritz said she is thrilled with the people who are on the committee, she believes the council can make a difference.
“It’s exciting, I’m glad to be a part of this program that can suggest drastic changes that could make a difference in the lives of children in Oregon,” Fritz said.
An impetus for the Governor’s appointment may be an insight into what is happening at EOU. The EOU Reading Clinic at Eastern Oregon University has retrained 175 teachers, according to Fritz. The goal of the EOU Reading Clinic is to improve reading outcomes for students in the eastern Oregon region through intervention with students and teachers.
Earlier this year the Governor visited EOU and met with leadership, teachers, and advocates for literacy.
“I’m very honored to be part of this group,” Fritz said. Fritz currently serves as Secretary for the Oregon Council for Exceptional Children. She is also a member of the Council for Learning Disabilities. Fritz is also a member of The Reading League and Oregon Kids Read.
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