Marlene Sokol, Hillsborough Schools Reporter

Marlene Sokol

Hillsborough Schools Reporter

I’ve been a journalist since 1983 at newspapers all over Florida. After 15 years as an editor in the Tampa suburbs I was assigned to cover the Hillsborough public school system, the same one that gave my two children a great education. That last part didn't happen by itself. I was an active volunteer and believe schools should accommodate parents' busy schedules. I’m not a fan of the 3 p.m. parent conference or 10 a.m. PTA meeting! On weekends I play tennis and volunteer at a youth soccer program. Call or email me with your tips about the schools. I use Facebook for family and Twitter for self-promotion. But I prefer my conversations one-on-one.

Reading One on One

IB students from Strawberry High School spend the first hour of every Tuesday morning tutoring struggling readers from Bailey Elementary School in Dover, Florida on March 26, 2019. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Pairing older and younger readers could be a puzzle piece in Hillsborough’s reading challenge

Gradebook podcast: A reading riddle in Hillsborough County schools

OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times Corey Nelson, 17, helps second-grader Keaton James, 8, with his reading at Bailey Elementary School in Dover, Florida on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. IB students from Strawberry High School spend the first hour of every Tuesday morning tutoring struggling readers from Bailey Elementary School.
When reading becomes a requirement, can kids love doing it?

Struggling readers are everywhere, but why does Hillsborough County have so many of them?

Specialist Patti Gonzales, who teaches reading lessons in small groups, works with Markus Barron at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Tampa on Feb. 6. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
Tens of thousands of local students are performing at the lowest levels in reading, a problem school district officials acknowledge is severe.

Hillsborough students say their love for reading waned over time. ‘I’d rather go outside.’

From left, Caleb Asher, Mckenzie Semler, Jordan McClellan, Jaylen Wharton and PJ Knight take notes in Jeannette Teeden's classroom at Durant High School in Plant City on March 15.  [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
Fond early memories of green eggs and ham, and hungry caterpillars, gave way to drudgery in school.

How to help your child be a reader: toddler talk, silly songs, movies and more

Areeya Reneau 16, left, helps second-grader Annika Newsome with reading passages read from
Experts weigh in on how parents can create routines that build a love for reading.