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3 Resources for Improving your Elementary School's Reading Program

By Room 241 Team March 4, 2013

Developing an effective school reading program is vital to teaching literacy from an early age. If students are not able to develop the basic skills early, then they will struggle to read in the future. By making use of resources that help improve the reading program, it is possible to adjust the current teaching methods and help students at all levels succeed.

Oklahoma Department of Education

An excellent resource for reading and writing programs is the Oklahoma Department of Education. The resources provided by the state offer teachers’ useful tools, tips and information to help improve the school reading program from the first stage of reading to the advanced skills expected of students at the end of elementary school.

The state website offers resources related to reading materials, basic reading skills students need to learn in elementary school and specific tools teachers can incorporate into the class lesson plans. Depending on the student grade level, the materials that are most effective can include lessons on sounding out words, comprehension and fluency.

Although the state offers a wide range of resources that help improve the reading program, teachers will need to look through the materials carefully to find the most effective tools for the current class of students. The teaching styles that work for one class might not have the same impact on another because students have different needs and methods of learning.

By using the resources to develop new lesson plans, teachers are able to improve the entire reading program. The program starts from kindergarten, but it must incorporate different aspects of reading to get the best impact by the time students move into middle school.

SpellRead

Once known as “SpellRead Phonological Auditory Training,” this small-group reading program is aimed at struggling readers. Designed for grades 2-12, it works particularly well, according to the Institute of Education Sciences, for elementary school children. Teachers of English Language Learners, special education students, and youngsters who are two grades behind in reading skills  are particularly to this instructional tool.

SpellRead, “integrates the auditory and visual aspects of the reading process and emphasizes specific skill mastery through systematic and explicit instruction. Students are taught to recognize and manipulate English sounds; to practice, apply, and transfer their skills using texts at their reading level; and to write about their reading,” according to the Education Sciences Institute. The program takes five to nine months to complete and consists of 140 lessons divided into three phases.

Learning Point Associates

Learning Point Associates have developed an evaluation resource to help teachers determine if the school reading program is effective or needs a little work. The stepping stones provided help teachers understand the program as it develops on a school-wide basis and determine goals teachers can use to help improve on the program from the classroom level to the entire school program.

Since the reading program is not limited to a single classroom, teachers need to work together to evaluate and develop the program. That means understanding the best way to look at the current program objectively and then working out a plan of action that will make improvements for the next school year.

The stepping stones provided help teachers develop new programs and understand the purpose of different types of teaching methods. By learning about the different methods of teaching, effective reading lessons and the steps to improve student achievement, teachers can make adjustments to the current classroom environment.

Improving a school reading program is not about overhauling the entire system and changing the basics. Instead, teachers need to use the tools that work most effectively and work on removing reading tools that do not help students achieve their reading goals. By making changes and working on the program over time, it is possible to improve student literacy before they leave elementary school.

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