(Inglewood, CA. . .). . .“The 21st Century Digital Age is here and reading remains its key to success”, Highland Principal Dr. Beasley explains when discussing the implementation of the iReady data program. She emphasizes that students are preparing for a future where they will access knowledge and information from every possible source: their books, phones, the internet, and television. “Strong reading and comprehension skills ensure that students are fully informed and will not miss an opportunity for college success and beyond”, Beasley adds. “Our Extended Reading Opportunity (ERO) pilot program builds their reading power so that they can not only read well, but more importantly understand and analyze what they are reading.”
So how does ERO work? As part of Inglewood Unified School District’s newly adopted diagnostic system, iReady, identified students take an assessment that reveals their strengths and weaknesses in all areas of Language Arts. “We analyze that data and pinpoint the exact high value skills that we want them to master,” explains Ms. Knight, Highland’s intervention teacher. Students are then placed in a small group learning team with other students who need the same or similar focus and receive personalized instruction targeted to their unique areas of support from Ms. Knight to boost achievement. ERO sessions last for six-eight weeks, which allow students to focus on a goal strategy so each time they can build on the previous day’s learning until they achieve mastery. And it’s working!
Ramon German, one of Highland’s sixth grade teachers says that even though it is a reading program, he sees an immediate impact on other subject areas in his classroom, like science and math. He observes that they are really learning how to pull out information. California Common Core calls for an increase in non-fiction reading to meet the technical demands of the future. “In science, I was having a hard time getting them to understand what they are reading. I would ask ‘what does that paragraph mean’, and I would not have any hands up,” German shared. However with the onset of this program, students are engaging deeply with the material. “This time around they are much more active. Now if I ask ‘what does the paragraph mean’, I see them using the skills to find the meaning.” Mr. German points out that Common Core presents a different kind of math with many word problems and that students have to be strong readers to be successful. German is pleased with what he is seeing so far from the data and looking forward to the future, “They need more work but they are coming along.”
What do the students think? One group was working on a Common Core literacy approach known as ‘Close Reading’ and how to use a strategy called ‘Using Context Clues’. Highland fifth grader, Shanice explains that a context clue “is a hint that helps you figure out the meaning of a word or what you’re reading”. Karla another fifth grader was also working on higher level thinking skills. The key to understanding for her was finding the relationship between the details. “The details are important because they help us find out what the main idea is” she explains. “Whenever I get stuck, I just look for the details”. Shanice said that after being in the program things are really different. “It’s helped me to work harder. Now when I raise my hand,” she smiles, “the teacher picks on me and I always get it right”.
For more information on ERO and the iReady pilot programs at Highland, contact 310.680.5460.