PITTSBURG — Struggling readers can learn the “secret code” to reading during a summer reading program at Pittsburg State University.

For students with dyslexia or reading disabilities reading can be a struggle.

This summer, youth in kindergarten through fifth grade can receive help with their reading through a program called “Secret Codes.”

Pittsburg State Professor David Hurford, developed “Secret Codes” several years ago. It is a curriculum based on the science of reading.

“Reading difficulties is probably one of the more important academic issues that’s facing schools today … currently, we have roughly 33 percent of kids across the nation that don’t read at the basic level, and roughly 58 percent don’t read at the proficient level,” he said.

He said intervening as early as possible could help these children become competent readers.

“Secret Code” is a curriculum which is currently being used in classrooms during the school year, but is also available during the summer at PSU’s Center for READing.

So far, he said, there has been success with the program.
"Several years ago, I faced some of the biggest battles of my teaching career,” Kathy Fuss, a first grade teacher at Cleveland Primary School in Cleveland, Oklahoma, said in a release. “I was failing as a teacher...several students struggled with reading every year.”
She said the success rate of her students was at 100 percent.

"It was humbling to see all children succeed and watch as they recognized that they, too, were brilliant,” Fuss said.
Another educator Rebecca Boman from Blue Valley has tried several programs, but did not see much progress until she tried “Secret Codes” in December with a second grader.

"We are currently on Unit 6 and I have seen tremendous progress both in his ability to sound out words and especially in his writing," Boman said in the release. "He has gone from having someone dictate everything he writes to wanting to write independently on his own. He has become more confident and less frustrated."  

The program will begin June 4 and run through July. The class is one hour per day, Monday through Thursday, with Friday as a catch-up day if necessary. Students will complete half of a year-long curriculum during that time, Hurford said.
The cost is $80 for materials and $320 for tuition. Scholarship assistance is possible. Each class size will be 10 or fewer, with two instructors per class.
To enroll in the summer program, call Hurford at 620-235-4534.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.