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Reading assistants helping local schools

A benefit to Wilson County schools through the stimulus package may be coming to an end at the conclusion of the school year. W.A. Wright is one of the schools that received a Reading Assistant two years ago. Amanda DeFelice is a certified teacher who took the position, which is hourly and doesn’t receive a full teacher’s salary. 
“We really are doing what is right for our students,” said DeFelice. 
DeFelice works with students outside of the traditional classroom setting and determines why they are having trouble reading, and whether they need to start the process to go toward special education. The extra work has helped determine what is the best path for certain students. DeFelice doesn’t make those decisions on her own. She meets with a group at the school, and they all make that determination. 
“We cannot begin to explain the need we have for such assistance,” said W.A. Wright Assistant Principal Tracey Burge.  “Not only has WAW benefited from having a reading assistant, but we have been very fortunate to have Amanda.”
Burge said that DeFelice has gone above her own duties and started a reading club with the students. DeFelice meets with fourth graders everyday but Friday, and they discuss a book that they are all reading together. The students were chosen by their teachers because they were at an advanced reading level. 
“The students are very excited to participate in such an enriching experience, and we are excited to see them eager about reading,” said Burge. 
DeFelice said she didn’t expect to take a job like this one when she graduated in 2009, but there weren’t a lot of positions available in Wilson County, which is where she wants to be. 
“I really like this county, their values and what they stand for,” said DeFelice. Whether to extend the stimulus positions will be discussed when Wilson County Schools looks at the budget later this year.

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