Literacy achievement is not built on one professional development workshop, one “initiative,” or one reading program. Sustained success results from skilled teachers and committed literacy leaders who:
- set challenging goals for all students
- implement meaningful and engaging instructional practices
- individualize academic intervention or acceleration strategies based on student needs
- institute appropriate monitoring using data to improve instruction
- engage in practice-oriented professional development with frequent opportunities for cross-grade level collaboration
- create a productive school climate and a culture of high expectations for all students and teachers
- establish meaningful two-way family engagement with parents as literacy partners at school and at home.
Schools that have experienced exceptional literacy success have done all of the above, as well as demonstrating their commitment to hiring and developing the best teachers, staying the course, and placing accountability front and center.
Connecticut’s K-3 Reading Plan, 2012-2016
“While much will be made of the significant improvements in student performance … the initiative also shows that providing teachers ongoing support, training, and sufficient resources is critical to the model’s success.”
—UConn Professor Michael Coyne
More than 1,000 students in 50 classrooms in five schools in Hartford, East Hartford, New Haven, and Windham have been exposed to the model for the past four years. While outcome data revealed successes early on, schools that participated for three years or more showed the most dramatic improvement, schools adopting the CT K-3 Reading Model for three years or more had more than doubled the number of students meeting grade-level literacy goals, while also reducing the number of students at significant risk for reading failure by more than half.
In our role in this partnership with UConn, Hill for Literacy, the Commission on Children, and the Connecticut State Department of Education, Literacy How Mentors deliver embedded professional development to K-3 teachers in Alliance schools.
Wendell Cross Elementary School, Waterbury, CT,
2011-12 School of Distinction
“Literacy How has taught my teachers how to teach reading effectively using only research based proven methodologies and strategies. This has become the cornerstone of our literacy instruction.”
—Joseph N. Amato, Principal, Wendell Cross Elementary School
Rogers International School, Stamford, CT
Rogers International School ranked first in 2007-08 Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) score gains for both elementary Hispanic achievement and low-income achievement. In fall 2007, Rogers received the Lone Pine Foundation Award, which acknowledges elementary schools in Fairfield County that have made the greatest academic gains. From 2006-07, the number of grade 3 students within the CMT reading goal range increased by 17.1%. Lone Pine recognized Rogers’ full-time teachers with $500 bonuses.
Since 2006, grade 3 CMT reading scores have continued to climb. The percentage of students scoring at the highest “advanced” level has risen by almost 5% to 21.6%, while the percentage of lowest performing “below basic” students has fallen by over 3.5% to 16.8%. 2013 scores for Hispanic students rose from 25.8% to 36.4% at or above goal, and from 38.7% to 50% at or above proficient. In the same time period, low-income students’ scores rose from 24% to 28.6% at or above goal and from 40% to 46.4% at or above proficient.
*Mary Lou Anderson, April 1970