Governor visits Perrysburg to promote better reading with ‘science of learning’


PERRYSBURG — Literacy is the great equalizer and Ohio’s governor wants to make sure every child reaches their potential.

Gov. Mike DeWine visited Hull Prairie Intermediate School on Monday to learn about Perrysburg Schools’ use of the science of reading and to introduce his ReadOhio program that will roll out this fall.

Education is at the top of his list of priorities, DeWine said.

Gov. Mike DeWine.

Marie Thomas-Baird | Sentinel-Tribune

The numbers in the state aren’t where they should be, he said.

“Kids have one chance to grow up and if we’re not giving them the most science-based help in regard to reading, then shame on us,” he said.

It is a big task to move every classroom and every teacher to the science of reading, DeWine said. Any school district not already using science of learning will begin aligning to the program this school year.

Perrysburg Schools has been offering the program since the 2020-21 school year.

With the science of reading, all students benefit from explicit and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and writing to become effective readers.

“What I have found to be helpful is hearing from teachers, coaches, everybody,” DeWine said.

The state’s two-year operating budget shows DeWine’s push to implement the science of reading: $86 million is for educator professional development, $64 million is for curriculum and instructional materials, and $18 million is for literacy coaches.

Reading specialist Julia Lark was on the panel of Perrysburg educators who spoke with DeWine.

She is a former literacy teacher at the high school and has seen how past practices of teaching reading have failed.

“My heart broke for some of them because they’re 16, 17 years old and they’re struggling to read,” Lark said.

It’s never too late to intervene, she said.

“We’ve got some catching up to do,” DeWine said.

State Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, from left; Gov. Mike DeWine; Nikki Moscinski, literacy lead for Perrysburg Schools; and reading specialist Julia Lark.

Marie Thomas-Baird | Sentinel-Tribune

While 40% of Ohio’s third graders are not proficient in reading, that number is less than 20% in Perrysburg, said Brent Swartzmiller, executive director of teaching and learning.

He said the passage rate among third grade readers is around 84%.

“We’re pretty proud of where we are,” Swartzmiller said, adding that percentage has gone up and down over the past few years.

“The skills we’re doing is for all students, not just our students who are struggling,” Swartzmiller said.

State Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, said he has seen a dramatic change in his son, who is on an Individualed Educational Plan, since he started lessons in the science of learning.

“You are investing in the lives of not only my child but every child in the community,” Ghanbari said.

Perrysburg Superintendent Tom Hosler said reading is like running in that there is a finish line, but some students race ahead while others stay on the course a little longer.

“The fact that we’ve have been working toward the science of reading and improving literacy across the board validates a lot of things that we’ve done,” Hosler said.

DeWine showed a video that touted how the science of reading has benefited students throughout the state.

ReadOhio will provide a free online tool kit, online tips for parents and caregivers, and online digital resources including curriculum supplements.

More information can be found at

Dewine said he is traveling the state and showing the video to start a conversation about reading.

“Sharing information between schools, between teachers, educators I think certainly is very, very important,” Dewine said.

The state has committed $26 million in federal COVID funding to pay for various materials and literacy coaches for non-public schools to align with the science of reading.

“We can’t forget any of our students,” DeWine said. “No matter where a student goes to school, they have the best opportunity to learn.”

No posts to display