This week, the Missoula County Public School Trustees approved new curriculum for teaching English Language Arts for area elementary schools. Superintendent Mark Thane says the new curriculum actually builds on teaching methods that were introduced back in 2012, that bring more focus on technical reading as opposed to a mostly literature focused reading system.

"In 2012, we adopted new curriculum standards that were in-line with that framework, however, the publishing companies were lagging at that point in time, so in 2012 we decided not to purchase new materials, "Thane said. "The materials we have continued to use to support our teachers in teaching English Language Arts are materials that have copyrights largely around the year 2000 or so."

The new materials do come with a price tag though.

"Much of the independent readers would be materials that we have in house already, but ReadyGen is the bulk of the purchase and we are talking approximately $500,000 for that purchase, which for over a five year adoption, works out to about $25 per student, per year in our elementary district.

ReadyGen is a program that will run from Kindergarten through fifth grade. There will also be a new assessment called the Independent Reading Level Assessment, which is designed to help teachers assess a student’s reading level and then offers reading recommendations based on the results.