Across the board, students in Clinton City Schools are reading more, thanks to a new program that started at the beginning of the school year.
In an effort to develop the reading skills of the students in Clinton City Schools, elementary schools began using a system-initiated reading program, Above and Beyond, in August. The program was implemented to replace Accelerated Reader, as a tool to aide in the development of students.
According to Erin Rady, curriculum coach, goals for the program were accountability for student’s independent reading, application of comprehension skills, increased rigor for end products and alignment with Common Core expectations.
Rady, along with curriculum coach Kelly Shultz and beginning teacher coordinator Dr. Kelly Batts, presented board members an update on the program during a work session Monday night.
“We are seeing this initiative used across the board,” Batts shared.
While concerns about the effectiveness of the program have been shared with board members and administrative staff, both Rady and Batts said the program has provided students with many benefits.
As a result of the program, Rady said there has been in increase of writing and responses to reading, an increase in student-led conferences and the use of higher level questions.
One major concern that has been presented, Batts said, is a decrease in the amount of reading that is being done by students.
“Teachers are concerned that some students aren’t reading as much as they did in the past,” Batts said.
Batts said there has also been the concern of accountability for the students. Students are required to complete a project at the end of each selection.
To participate in the program, students choose and read a book of their choice, based on their independent reading level. Once the student completes the book, teachers ask students to complete an assignment or activity that goes along with the book they read. With the completion of the assignment, students earn points that allows them to reach a goal.
“All assignments are directly related to common core standards and a part of what the students are being asked to learn at their grade level,” Rady said. “This will be a great opportunity for the teachers to talk with each individual student about their level and they can encourage them to choose something on their independent reading level.”
According to Rady, students have been able to read more at school and are not having to take books home and read.
The program, which costs the school system nothing, was developed as an idea that Rady said is in the best interest of the students and helping them become independent readers.
“We want to make sure the students are equipped with the what they need to develop critical thinking skills,” the curriculum coach added.
Students will continue to be rewarded for meeting their goals at the end of each nine weeks.
Examples of assignments, Rady said, would be writing a letter to the author of the publication or writing a student’s opinion on what they read. Each assignment will be worth anywhere from 100-300 feet, which is similar to points.
Above and Beyond, Rady shared, gives the teachers and schools more flexibility, as teachers are allowed to modify assignments at anytime. Teachers use a rubric grading system to determine how well the child understood their reading.
“Our ultimate goal is for students to become individual readers,” Rady shared.”The assignments are geared towards the student’s individual needs. Teachers can tailor the assignments to meet each student.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.