No underachiever: Local teacher writes book to help students with math

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Updated: 12/23/2012 10:19 am
SPARKS, Nev. (KRNV & -- With a low graduation rate and many area schools struggling to reach annual achievement standards, one local teacher is going above and beyond to help kids who are having trouble with math.

"There wasn't one out there so I decided to do it myself," said Holly Young, a Mendive Middle School math teacher.

Young works with gifted students - but she saw a need for resources for kids who are struggling with math. 

"I think sometimes when we just tell kids what math is it doesn't help them understand it," Young said. "They sometimes need to get their hands dirty into it."
So she wrote "The Underachievers" - an illustrated story book that teaches fractions.

"I wanted to make it a story because I teach through stories," Young said. "I teach through children's literature all the time."

Young creathed "The Underachievers" with a classroom setting in mind, but she says it can also be a helpful tool in the home, so in the back she wrote a note for parents. 

Young's 10-year-old son Carson used it to help his classmates. 

"I did this thing where I had to divide it into fifths and because of my mom's book I knew how to do it," Carson said.  

"We're all very proud in our program but also the district should be very proud," said Lisa Riggs, administrator of the school district's gifted program.

Riggs says finding creative resources like Young's book is vital. 

"I think it's crucial because if you don't have students engaged and interested in learning, that's the biggest step that we have to over come," Riggs said. 

Young says it's important to engage them as early as possible - ideally from pre-k to second grade.  

"If children have early number concepts, all the rest of the stuff goes easy," Young said.

"The Underachievers" is available on and for 20 dollars, or as an e-book for nine.
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