Lakewood explains catch up reading program
HEBRON – Lakewood Schools personnel know they have a lot of work ahead of them to reach their goal of having 90 percent of third graders reading at grade level by next school year, but they told the Lakewood School Board Feb. 8 that they’ve had a program in place for the last six months that’s helping them reach that goal.
Academic Dean Carol Field said that right now an average of 64.2 percent of third, fourth, and fifth graders are reading at grade level. “That’s quite a ways from 90,” she said. Kids need help to catch up.
Reading Specialist Michelle Henry said students who are two years or more behind in reading are taking part in a program called Corrective Reading.
Director of Pupil Services Arnie Ettenhofer said Corrective Reading is a “catch up, make up” program for struggling readers. He said Corrective Reading is what is referred to as Direct Instruction. “It has over 50 years of scientific research to support its use,” said Ettenhofer. “Direct Instruction is very scripted and to the point.”
After taking a placement test to determine a student’s reading level, they are placed in a group; either A, B, B1, or C. Students participate in Corrective Reading in addition to their regular English class. Usually a student meets in Corrective Reading for an additional 45 minutes a day, five days a week. “We refer to this as Tier 2 intervention, in our tiered system of intervention, Response to Intervention,” he said. “Corrective Reading is giving students more confidence as readers.” Ettenhofer said students taking part in the program are more willing to read aloud in front of class. “A key word is ‘confidence,’” he said.
Board members heard that 137 students are participating in the program. It’s important that students in the intermediate grades catch-up with their reading skills because explicit phonics instruction is not part of the everyday curriculum in the upper grades and older students are expected to know how to decode and encode words. If they don’t understand the basics in the early grades, it’ll become tougher and tougher to catch up as time progresses.
Board members heard that participating students are divided by Corrective Reading level, not grade level. The students take occasional tests to see if they’re reaching the required reading level. The instructor provides further intervention if the students are not meeting benchmarks for their lessons. Progress is monitored weekly.
Ettenhofer said that based on the reports from teachers and principals, the students enrolled in Corrective Reading are making “measurable gains.”