CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va (WTVR)- Dr. Joseph Sandford spent six years developing the TNT reading software in his Chesterfield office.
He says the program offers a fun and effective way to combat a continuing problem in elementary schools across the nation: students who have trouble reading.
“From K to third grade you have to learn to read because from fourth grade on you have to read to learn,” says Dr. Sandford.
According to a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Education, 58% of fourth graders tested below the category of proficient in reading for their grade.
“I believe that all children are capable of learning. I come from a family of teachers, and I believe they just need to have some help in order to do it,” says Sandford.
Dr. Sandford donated some of the software to Chesterfield County for use with their reading program.
It zeroes in on deficiencies we would not even be able to see,” says Cindy Tartick, a Literacy Specialist for Chesterfield County Public Schools.
In 2011, Chesterfield reported that 61 percent of their 4th graders tested below proficient. Something Cindy Tartick is trying to change.
“It's kind of like if we have a dartboard. If we can actually zero in on the center and not waste our time, waste our efforts, it's a whole lot better for us and the children,” says Tartick.
Heather Page from Quinton has a family of five. Her oldest son Colby used to struggle with reading. Colby uses the TNT program but Heather also reads with him daily.
"The parents really need to get involved,” says Page.
Colby recently won an award at his school for accelerated reading.
“It touches my heart. I'm so proud of him.”
It's kids like Colby that Dr. Sanford hopes become the norm.