LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas schools like Booneville Elementary School and Booneville High School are transforming education through the Reading Initiative for Student Excellence (R.I.S.E.) Arkansas campaign.

Earlier this summer schools were given the opportunity to sign up to become a R.I.S.E. School. More than 350 made the commitment to promote a culture of reading, build community partnerships and strengthen reading instruction, with additional schools expressing interest.

“Arkansas schools and communities continue to demonstrate their commitment to building a culture of reading,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “I am extremely proud of the efforts of these schools and all stakeholders who have embraced this initiative and support Arkansas’ students.”

To assist schools with their own reading campaigns, each R.I.S.E. School received a kit that includes bookmarks, posters, a banner and graphics.

“Strong reading skills establish the foundation for student success,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. “As we transform Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education, strong, positive partnerships that promote a culture of reading are essential. I want to thank all Arkansas schools for their continued dedication to our students.”

Since the launch of the campaign in January, ADE has provided training for more than 80 literacy specialists through the R.I.S.E. Academies. These specialists are providing support to more than 1,000 kindergarten through second-grade teachers this school year. The R.I.S.E. Academy will expand next summer to include training for educators in grades three through six. These trainers will provide support to educators during the 2018-2019 school year.

In addition to the R.I.S.E. Academies, more than 1,000 educators attended ADE’s second annual reading conference, where they learned best practices and how to use data to guide reading instruction. ADE continues to collaborate with higher education and other partners to promote and improve literacy instruction. Instruction focuses on the science of reading, or how a student learns to read.