HHES staff started the year with an ambitious vision: To collaborate and align practices so that every student will be a proficient reader by the end of 2nd Grade. Their commitment to literacy does not stop there.
HHES is dedicated to reading! When school started in the fall, HHES implemented a simple and cohesive vision for the year: that all students would be “proficient in reading by the end of second grade and maintain proficiency until the end of fifth grade (when students move on to the middle school).” To take advantage of full in-person learning, building staff wanted a focused goal that teachers and staff could support and that would have a direct and profound impact on every child’s learning experience.
With a goal in place, building teams worked together to develop strategies for achieving success. The foundation of these strategies was simply to make sure students are reading every single day. The schedule was designed to provide dedicated reading time throughout the school, and instead of pulling struggling students out of classes for extra help, additional staff members “push in” to classrooms to help teachers guide reading groups of different skill levels. Assistant Principal Bess Colpron explains that the independent reading time for students is non-negotiable for all grade levels. This shows students that it is a priority and allows them to look forward to it each day.
Student reading levels are determined and monitored by grade level teams using multiple assessments, and each child knows his or her current level. This allows students to independently select books that will be challenging, but which will allow them to be successful. The ability to choose their own books provides a sense of ownership and pride for students and allows them to pick books that are aligned with their interests. It is Colpron’s first year at HHES, and she is excited about how chatting about reading is a great way to get to know individual students. She says it is a great conversation starter to ask a student about the book he or she picked for independent reading. Once she has talked with a student about a book, the child will often wave her down to tell her about the next book they have selected or to let her know what happened with a character or story line they discussed.
Why did HHES come up with this important goal for the year? The answer is fundamental: “Because we believe reading is the key for all students to achieve their dreams.”