District Third Graders Advance toward Achieving Major Reading Goal | Schools
BULLITT COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - Ambitious efforts by educators to bring all elementary school third graders to reading at or above grade level are working.
Interim results indicate that the district is moving toward that goal. There are 736 third grade students in 13 elementary schools (just over 80% out of 100%) reading at grade level as of winter 2011.
“This is very good news that should make us proud,” said Superintendent Keith Davis.
One of the major district goals he suggested to the Board of Education was increase the percentage of third grade students reading on grade level to 100% over four years.
Reading on Grade Level is defined, based on expert statistical opinion, as reading at or above the 4th stanine or above on a standard reading assessment. Bullitt County used Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) for this measurement because it is a nationally normed text, making the results comparable across the United States.
The spring 2011 goal was calculated by subtracting the spring 2010 goal from 100%, dividing that result by 4, then adding the quotient to the spring 2010 goal.
The district goal for Spring 2011 was 67%. Winter interim results indicate that from spring last year to winter this year the percentage of third graders reading on grade level rose from 56% to 80.26%
In an email to principals, Davis wrote, “Congratulations to you, your teachers, tutors, instructional coaches, instructional assistants, parents, students, lunch ladies, bus drivers, custodians and anyone else who has worked toward this goal,” Davis said.
Director of Elementary Education Terry Price said teachers have been taking of many training opportunities that only enhance their work in the classroom.
“Teachers have been actively involved in best practices in literacy, professional development focused on reading strategies and hearing experts in the field of reading,” he said. “I am very, very pleased with the progress and I feel teachers see the importance of it, too.”
Roby Elementary School’s third grade team of Melissa Logsdon, Brittany Woodruff and Amy Wright reported 90% of their students were reading at or above grade level as of winter 2010.
“There is not one strategy, but, several initiatives that we feel are being successful for us in the area of reading,” Ms. Logsdon said. “One very successful initiative is our Reading Clinic, which is a focused time at each grade level in which all students receive additional time in reading. This is beyond the core reading time and is focused at the students’ instructional level and need.”
The team analyzes data closely to pinpoint students’ needs. “Data is driving our instruction,” added Ms. Woodruff. “We have been intentional about utilizing instructional time and we have worked to refine our instruction in the area of literacy and have participated in several professional development trainings and book studies to improve our instructional practice in the area of literacy.”
All of this has been a collaborative focus in all primary grades with the goal of having all students on grade level by the end of third grade.
“We are very excited about student progress, but, know that we have to keep working to continue to move forward. We are very proud of our students,” Ms. Wright said.
There are 84.52% of Overdale Elementary School third graders reading at or above grade level. Teachers Alicia Doyle, Traci Barger, Melissa Key and Mary Raidt are excited to hear about the good news.
“We are implementing strategies to aid in our students’ success,” Mrs. Doyle explained. “We have reading clinics everyday that cater to individual student needs. We are challenging each student on his or her individual reading level so each child may increase his or her reading level.”
A new concept implemented the current school year is Daily 5. “This allows our students to have "Good Fit" books each day so they can read on his or her level,” Mrs. Barger explained. “Our students are enjoying reading to self and reading to someone. We have seen an increase of students who love reading and more at home! During reading groups, we use individual conferencing so that each student is getting individual instruction to meets his or her needs.”
Another resource is daily reading tutors. An extra reading tutor for each elementary school was added this year to assist with the reading goal.
“They are wonderful and help each day with planning and instructing our students,” Mrs. Key said. “They take a group each day and work on skills that cater to those student needs. Without them we would not be able to improve so much!”
Overdale Curriculum Coach Kelly Riggs said the first thing a teacher must know is a child’s reading ability. “Once a child is determined as below grade level in reading then extra intervention lessons are given to that student,” she said. “Thirty minutes of extra intervention time is used for those not on grade level in addition to their core reading.”
Overdale staff use several tools to determine if a child is on grade level and setting goals based upon that data. “If a child's average is below level then they receive Response to Intervention (RTI),” Ms. Riggs explained. “Students receiving RTI are given 30 extra minutes of reading per day, five times per week, along with their core reading program that lasts 45-60 minutes per day.”
If little or no improvement is shown, the student will continue to receive RTI interventions within a smaller group setting with a certified teacher. The teacher student ratio in intervention groups can be as small as 3:1.
Another reading strategy is The Daily 5. “The Daily 5 is more than a management system or a curriculum framework,” Ms. Riggs explained. “It is a structure that helps students develop the daily habits of reading, writing, and working independently that will lead to a lifetime of literacy independence.”
The Daily 5 is used during reading block. The 5 daily strategies are:
1. Read to Self
2. Work on Writing
3. Read to Someone
4. Listen to Reading
5. Word Work
Mrs. Robertson and three teachers traveled to Boston, Mass. last summer for the training and then came back to train faculty over the Daily 5 strategy. The teachers were, Traci Barger, Angelina Marksbury, and Sara Azevedo.
“This is used to foster our core reading program--Rigby Literacy,” Ms. Riggs said.
Compass Learning has quickly been embraced as a valuable resource by educators. “Compass Learning is the district software program purchased this year that is individualized according to each child's MAP benchmark testing scores. The lessons are automatically set up according to what their weaknesses are and remediation is given to them via computer lessons.”
At Overdale, Compass is used during computer lab times during special area, during RTI interventions, early release days, and afterschool on Compass "Camp" Wednesdays.
“Students can even log on at home from their own computer and work on bringing up their reading skills,” Ms. Riggs said. “We are also giving each third grade student a Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) if they are below the 25% in reading three times per year as an additional tool to monitor grade level.”
Overdale teachers discuss student growth during weekly Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings with the principal and instructional coach. Students fill out reading goals and work hard to make their goals during benchmark testing.
Rising reading levels at Overdale can also be contributed to our intervention schedule.
“A group of instructional assistants assist certified teachers with interventions by going into one grade every 30 minutes,” Ms. Riggs remarked. “Four instructional assistants will be working with all of second grade RTI students for 30 minutes straight and then that whole group of assistants will move on together to the next grade for 30 minutes. It really is a team effort. This begins at 9:00 and ends at noon.”
Student progress is rewarded in various ways. “Incentives are used for students who meet their goals such as their names going into a drawing for a prize if they meet their goal,” Ms. Riggs said.
Cedar Grove Elementary School has 80% of its third graders at or above reading grade level. Primary teacher Chris Stevenson said in order to assist students they incorporate shared reading lessons, small guided reading group lessons, and RTI interventions.
“We are also using Compass Learning as an additional resource,” she said. “Our third grade team uses the Descartes to help set reading goals for individuals and small guided reading groups,” she continued. “We supplement the Rigby program with research based strategies, such as: making connections, questioning, visualizing and inferring, summarizing, and knowledge of non-fiction conventions. These strategies are based on the book Strategies that Work by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis. Our goal is to help students develop skills that will help them become successful readers.”
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