Thursday, July 19, 2012

District ELA/Reading Panel

On Tuesday night we convened a district reading group to to discuss what is, and what is not, working. It was a great discussion that was based on data, theory, and feedback from the classroom practitioners.

Reading Panel Discussion 2012.07.17

Main Points:
1. DIBELS gone, PALS in
2. More comprehension – has to be priority
3. Need more non-fiction, technical reading
4. More outside of the day reading needed; home and intervention programs
5. Need to step it up; challenge more, higher level reading, accelerate vocabulary
6. May need to make drastic upgrade in grade one

General Notes:
1. PALS will replace DIBELS and will be given in grade 4K, K, 1, 2, 3
a. The logistics of the testing will be worked out later
2. Laura will meet with K and 1 teams and she will determine whether we continue with Maps for Primary Grades (MPG) – this decision needs to be soon
a. More research to conclude if PALS can give us a benchmark score, grade level and teacher data
b. More research to determine if PALS can be the Universal Screener for RtI
3. 4K, K, 1, and 2 will find ways to work on comprehension skills as the “gut feeling” and data seem to show that the phonics programming is working well, but that “we are weak on comprehension” and that is now the major roadblock
4. More Vocabulary, early and often; need to challenge students even more with higher level words
5. Teach technical reading skills and reading text conventions
a. Need to agree on generally accepted usage or practices and carry them through the grades
b. Teach the format of a text book at all levels; index, glossary, etc.
c. Skim / scan
d. Back / front
6. It was discussed that the current Houghton Mifflin ELA series in grade one is way too low and is not used to full efficacy.
a. First grade is currently using HM but trying to incorporate more comprehension strategies, and therefore not always getting through the lessons in entirety.
b. Comprehension strategies and fluent reading practices are what they feel is lacking in their current book.
c. Alternatives will be explored such as moving something down, adding something, or get a new series (at this time the feeling is that we may have totally outgrown the current series and need to change – maybe even yet this year)
7. Grade 5 materials need to be studied as they may be too low and uninteresting to students
a. Aaron is going to consult some people and work with Kerry on this
8. General consensus that we need more reading time if a child is behind; we cannot catch them up within the school day
a. There has to be an expectation of reading outside of the school day for all students at all levels; more reading at home or …
i. We need the parents; in early grades to stay on track, at least 15 minutes of daily reading in the home, more as they age 
ii. If that is not happening at home for some students, do we need to expand the intensive after-school program at all levels? (students want to please their teachers, they even try to sign the sheets for the parents)
iii. The 9 student after-school rotation devised by teachers shows promise of working – how can we improve that model? Do we need to expand it? Start earlier, consistent through year?
9. Non-fiction, technical, reading needs to be stressed and incorporated more at all levels
a. Research projects
b. Timed Cold Reads
c. Help to guide and find materials of interest to students
10. High School will need to develop innovative ways to help students with higher level work
a. Keep kids in the basal programming but supplement (not supplant) with extra intensive time with a small number of students that are reading at elementary levels 
i. Study to see how many are coming up from lower grades
ii. An intensive intervention program this year in the special education department indicated real promise at students raised 320 points
b. Need to identify and intervene before high school
11. Programs to encourage reading – reading counts; prizes etc.
a. Concern that some kids do not get prizes – the good stuff goes to the good readers. Can something be structured to combat that?
b. High School is reporting much more reading with the extra reading requirements thorough reading counts – kids carrying and reading books
12. 95%+ (or some figure that you put in here) of the children in our system that are behind in reading are due to environmental issues; they just have not learned/mastered the skills. There are only 5%- (you put a figure in here) of students that are truly disabled.
a. We need to figure that out as early as possible and intervene
13. Desire to continue meeting as a Reading Panel group

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