Storm

Reading Plus

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.  One does not love breathing.”  This quote comes from the character Jean Louise Finch, better known as “Scout” from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  As a former English/Speech-Theater teacher, To Kill a Mockingbird was my favorite novel to teach.  Just like there are movies we would watch over and over, this book holds that same concept for me.  No matter how many years I taught the novel, I was always able to take away something new every year.  A couple of the themes prevalent in the novel are growing up and life in a small town:  both concepts relatable to the students at Creek Valley Public Schools.  

This spring, the students at CVS have been participating in a pilot program called Reading Plus.  This program uses adaptive technology to increase reading fluency, motivation, and comprehension.  Reading Plus is comprised of five components:  initial assessment, reading, vocabulary, visual skills, and writing.  These components are supported by a wealth of materials for direct instruction.  What is really important to note about the program is that it is designed for personalized learning placing students at their present level.  Students also have the opportunity to select reading passages of interest to them at their reading level, which is extremely important and powerful.  Once students have completed the initial placement assessment, recommendations form the default assignments schedule. Teachers have the ability to adjust weekly assignment settings to meet individual student or class-wide needs.

The Reading component is approximately 15 minutes per lesson.  It is recommended that students read 5 lessons per week.  It is the primary component of the program and provides structured, scaffolded silent reading practice.  The reading component supports the development of academic vocabulary and delivers increasingly complex text selections while incorporating rigorous comprehension tasks.  

The Vocabulary component builds knowledge and mastery of general academic vocabulary and develops textual analysis skills.  Each vocabulary component takes approximately 10 minutes in length to complete.  

The Visual Skills component also takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and on average requires 3 vocabulary lessons  per week. It supports the development of visual perceptual skills including visual perceptual span, visual memory, and left to right scanning.  

The Writing Component is presented to students after a proficient reading comprehension score.  Students are presented with writing prompts to practice comprehension-based writing.  Writing prompts are highly crafted to ensure students become attentive readers who can read closely, interpret text responsibly and rigorously, cite evidence accurately, and reflect deeply on a text’s meaning.  

There are three phases to implement Reading Plus. Launch: Initial assessment takes place and

students get started in instruction. Instruction and Coaching: Students are working in Reading Plus

and teachers are monitoring and extending learning directly. Wrap-Up: Teachers assess gains made

by students over the school year.  

Teachers have four responsibilities in implementing Reading Plus:

1. Guiding a strong start.

2. Logging in regularly to monitor data.

3. Motivating students to maintain engagement with Reading Plus.

4. Using data to drive instruction.

As we wrap up the school year, the students in grades 7-12 have been working on this program.  As an added incentive, students in grades 7-11 have been presented with a “reading challenge.”  The class who completes the highest percentage of reading with a total level of 80 percent comprehension or higher will receive a half day off from school and may be dismissed at noon on the last day of school.  This is focusing not on what class reads the most, but rather, on the class who is reading at the highest level of comprehension.  Presently, the 7th grade class is in the lead with a comprehension reading level of 89.9 percent.  The 9th grade class is close behind with 82.2%, while the 8th grade class is gaining ground increasing their performance by 12.6% from last week to this week.  The winning class will be announced on Friday, May 20, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. and parents will be notified.

Reading is like any other activity or sport.  Just like in playing an instrument or playing a sport, in order to get really skilled at it one must practice, and practice often,  In the words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Best of luck to all the classes as we are seeing some tremendous changes and growth!

 

From the desk of Principal Amy Hostetler, 5/18/22