Paving a Path to Literacy

Noble second graders Daisha Gardner and Skylah Houston (L to R) wrote "How the Bear Became Brown" in Michelle Dawson's enrichment reading class.

Children enter school at different points on the pathway to literacy. The challenge for teachers is to help students crack the reading code and become competent readers.

Noble teachers have been successful - last year all third grade students passed the reading portion of the Ohio Achievement Test. That success is partly due to woek done last summer, when Noble teachers reviewed each incoming student’s reading assessments and set specific grade level goals. The first grade goal: 83% of all students would read at or above grade level by the end of this school year.

Once teachers identified each student’s reading skills and challenges, interventions were developed for students performing below, at, and above grade level. “Our goal is to design each student’s day to include extra reading time whenever possible,” said Principal Julie Beers.

Older students read to younger ones while they share lunch, senior citizens read with students and teachers work with small groups of students to address specific skill needs. Second grade students who are reading above grade level spend time with enrichment teacher Mrs. Dawson. In one activity, eight students wrote stories about animal characteristics, based on the style of “How the Camel Got its Hump.” Then each student read their story and received input from the class. “Maybe you could add some talking,” suggested a student. Mrs. Dawson noted that this technique, called dialogue, adds detail to a story and makes it more exciting.

Meanwhile, first grade teacher Mrs. Schramo was working with her below grade level readers. The seven students looked at word cards and listened as she read the words aloud. The children pointed to each distinct letter and made its sound. When Mrs. Shramo said “last,” six students repeated the word but one child said land, unable to differentiate between n and d sounds – until the third try. When he got it, his classmates erupted in clapping and a round of “Yeah!” While the activities for these two groups of children are different, the goal is the same: using the knowledge of each student’s needs to make sure every child learns.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 1:24 PM, 04.16.2010