• Scott Boyes

Better Reading Skills

Question -- How Can We Improve Our Students' Reading Ability?


All students have the ability to learn.

What we need to understand is that students learn at different rates and in different ways.


For example, some students can learn their letters and sounds within 2-3 months while other students take an entire school year to fully grasp those same concepts.

Why the delay?


There can be many reasons for a learning delay. One reason could be a child’s maturity level when they started school. Maybe you have heard, “he is a boy and we know that girls are about a year ahead of the boys”. Other reasons could be differences in retention and the skills necessary to learn.


So, what is a possible solution?


To overcome these obstacles and ensure that all students at Samoset Elementary were reading proficiently, as the principal, I created a 1/2 grade classroom for about 14 students.


How did this work? All 1st-grade students that were struggling to stay up with their classmates (for reasons other than learning disabilities) were promoted to 2nd-grade. However, the curriculum for that 2nd-grade class started at the 1.5-grade level from the previous year. The curriculum was given to them at a faster pace and with additional support so that they received all the 2nd grade standards with an additional emphasis on reading by the end of the 2nd grade.


What we found was that about 7-9 students caught up and were then promoted the following year to a 3rd-grade classroom that started off the year with the standard curriculum. The other 5-7 students who were still struggling were joined by 7-9 other students that had similar learning concerns and placed in 3rd grade, but again, the curriculum started at a 2.5-grade level.


Through this innovative technique, the majority of these struggling students were reading on grade level and the end of the 3rd grade.


Conclusion...


We improve the reading levels of students by doing things that mold the educational learning experience to the needs of the students. This means that we have to be willing to do things we haven't done before to get results that we haven't seen before. And the earlier we can address the situation the better it will be for them later in their educational journey.


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