FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – At Underwood Elementary in Florence, two teachers are getting the chance to try out a new interactive way to teach reading.

Underwood Elementary teachers Jenny Horton and Jessica McDaniel are some of the first to use the new reading horizons literacy program. It’s designed to be a more interactive, efficient way to teach kids how to read and write.

“We have a very special methodology that’s been around for over 40 years, and that methodology is one of the simplest ways to teach phonics to our students,” said Jennifer Bishop, the Reading Horizons national literacy consultant.

This new program uses tablets, hand motions, and call and response to help these first-graders learn. Each activity is designed to be like a game. Right now, the program is still being developed to find what each classroom responds to the best, and how teachers can use it most effectively.

“It’s more hand motions. It’s more interactive. They’re fully engaged with their full body instead of just their eyes,” said Horton.

These teachers have used the reading horizons program since the beginning of the school year. So far, they say the kids have responded well to the new curriculum and are advancing quicker than ever.

“This program, it really teaches kids why words are spelled the way they are and how to read them and to build them up fluently. And it’s very engaging and the kids love doing it,” said McDaniel.

Representatives from the new Reading Horizons program met with the teachers to talk about how the program can be improved. They say it will take some time before this program is transitioned to other schools in the area.