We need a consistent, coordinated K-6 reading program. That’s what headed us down the path of piloting four different series/approaches in our district this year. And that’s what we heard over and over again from our reading pilot teachers today. Our decision making group of eight invited our pilot teachers to talk about what they absolutely need us to know about the series they’re piloting.
We had a hefty agenda of questions to answer and intermittently, we had pilot teachers talking to us. They let us know what they like/dislike about their pilots, what’s working for their kids and what’s not working. Some told us what they liked about the other pilots. A few endorsed a program they’d used previously.
This decision making group has an onerous task ahead of us. We have compiled monthly feedback assessments from the pilot teachers, we’ve looked at the DIEBELS data from fall and winter assessments, we’ve brought in an Orton Gillingham expert to talk to us. I’ve visited pilot classrooms and observed teaching/learning. We’ve consulted the research. We’ve listened to pilot teachers. And now we will develop a GCS K-6 consistent reading program.
Here’s what I know for certain. We will build a program based on what we know about the way children learn to read. We will build it with components that best prepare our students in reading and writing. We will have a planned, consistent K-6 program and we will require all teachers to teach the components of the program. We will deliver solid staff development, opportunities for coaching, and lots of support. We will go in as administrators and ensure that everyone is following the program, in the correct way. If we see the fidelity of the program compromised, we will bring in additional support.
I know for certain that every child who enters kindergarten through sixth grade in 2008 will have an articulated, consistent, coordinated reading program. I know for certain we will have stronger readers and more student success. I know we are actively engaged in the key effective practices that research has shown time and again to be present in successful schools. I know this emphasis on literacy is the key to it all.