Reading skills improved by the Bible

July 15, 2008 2:54:20 PM PDT
There is a new program teaching local kids how to read using the bible. Organizers are using stories from the bible to make sure kids get the help they need and it's becoming quite popular.

They study stories from the bible, but the purpose is to improve the reading skills of Newark children.

"My teachers help me sound out words that I don't know, I break them up in syllables and do it by parts," said Akira Roberts.

The children are part of a program called, "Mission: Literacy", at a local branch of the salvation army. The program's content comes from the American Bible Society.

"Although the primary objective of the curriculum is to raise the literacy levels of the young people, what it's doing is that it's encouraging them. It's raising their self-esteem," Enid Almanzar told Eyewitness News Education Reporter Art McFarland.

Felicia Flora is witht he Salvation Army. "After they do the reading, we have a little work sheet that they do and it helps us see if they understood...if they comprehended what they read."

The Bible Society developed the curriculum with the Bank Street College of Education.

"Bible stories are...they're actually great to start out with because they're stories...they're very compelling stories. They have great plot lines. They have great characters," said Jeffery McCartney.

The Salvation Army says "Mission: Literacy" has raised the reading levels of 89 percent of the children.

"We see behavior changes that are documented on the report cards by their public school teachers and that they are becoming more interested and more involved in their work," said Dawn Sharp.

Eyewitness News is told the program will be expanded to other Salvation Army centers in the Newark area and in several other states, as well.

STORY BY: Eyewitness News Education Reporter Art McFarland