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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A valuable reading program used by teachers throughout Department of Defense Dependents Schools just got an upgrade.

In use by DODDS since 2002, the Read 180 Enterprise Edition, a computer-assisted reading program, uses a combination of computer software, audio CDs and printed instructional material to help fourth- through 12th-graders who are struggling with their reading and comprehension skills, said Susan M. Karlesses, the secondary English and language arts coordinator for the Department of Defense Education Activity.

Karlesses and Leslie Miller, a consultant for Scholastic Inc., are traveling to DODDS-Pacific schools this month, conducting training at locations in Japan and South Korea and on Okinawa.

“Technology has changed a lot in the past five years,” said Kim Bartola, chief of education for the DODDS Japan District superintendent’s office, adding that DODDS is using the update of the program by Scholastic Inc. as an opportunity to provide hands-on training on the updated program for teachers, literacy support specialists and special-education personnel.

Giving a brief demonstration on how the program worked, she said that students with reading deficiencies have a Read 180 class every day for 90 minutes.

Miller showed how the software is divided into four segments or “zones,” where students work on their reading, spelling and comprehension skills. As students progress through the zones, both they and their teachers can track their progress through a variety of charts and graphs. The program also tracks what words and spellings the students struggle with, allowing them to practice the ones that give them trouble.

Being able to track a student’s progress and determine exactly where they need help is a valuable tool, said Duanna Petrus, a literacy support specialist and special-education teacher at Yokota West Elementary School, who has been using the program for about two years.

“I’m able to group my students according to their needs,” she said.

Bartola added that Read 180 is also very beneficial for students who are bilingual or learning English as a second language.

Read 180 is taught in more than 10,000 classrooms nationwide, Miller said, adding that parents who want to learn more about the program can go online to www.scholastic.com/dodea.

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