North Lake College is working on closing the gap of students who have trouble passing college level courses.
Currently 600 students attending the college have developmental reading needs, so school officials launched a pilot program called “iRead” as part of North Lake’s Quality Enhancement Plan to give those students extra help for college improvement.
The pilot program began this semester with two 20-student classes.
Human Development professor and director of North Lake’s Quality Enhancement Plan MaryAnn McGuirk helped launch the pilot program. She said about a third of the freshmen class at North Lake College currently don’t qualify to take college level classes.
“This pilot said, 'Let's combine classes. Let's have them take paired courses, a college course and a developmental reading course, and give them an opportunity to be successful in getting to these college level classes,’” she said.
Reading was chosen for the pilot program based on a vote to work on improving the success rates of students enrolled in developmental reading courses.
Brenda Robledo, a freshman, said reading has always been a challenge. “Since like fifth grade, it's just really hard just because of the fact that I couldn't concentrate on the reading, the vocab was tough,” she said.
Robledo said the iRead program has been making a difference this semester. “It's helped me grow a lot,” she said. “I'm actually understanding it. I'm actually focusing more on the reading and understand how to use context clues, as I did not know how to do that at all.”
Freshman Jesus Alvarez said he’s optimistic about this new way of learning. “Some people look at it like a setback but it's really not, because I feel once you leave here you'll be a step ahead than people who are just taking a class right off the bat,” he said.
McGuirk said the pilot program will expand in the fall, offering four classes at the central campus in Irving.