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Low test scores confirmed what teachers already knew--something had to be done to rescue Somerset's struggling readers. Reading scores in the close-knit Eastern Shore district had remained flat while other Maryland districts had shown improvement since 1993, the year state accountability testing began.
"Across the board, very few of our students were reading at grade level," says Patti Monk, a fifth grade teacher at Marion Sarah Peyton School. "When we tested, we realized we really had a problem in reading."
Teachers diagnosed the problem in a variety of ways--from a reading series that had gotten away from reading awareness and basal series techniques to an influx of new teachers who'd …