Langdon Area Elementary School (LAES) faculty are preparing to help their students in first and second grade further not only their reading ability but love of reading.
By Melissa Anderson
LAES Principal Todd Hetler and his teachers have been preparing themselves to help the students in grades 1- 6 “Walk to Read” with the official start date of January 17, 2017.
“We are going to begin a new way of teacher reading to our first and second graders.” Hetler explained, “Each student will receive reading instruction and reading materials at his or her current reading level.”
At LAES, a group called the Instruction Team, that includes Hetler and a group of teachers, worked together to research effective ways schools are helping students become better readers.
“The Instruction Team and the first and second grade teachers have worked tirelessly in helping the program’s success. They believe in the program,” Hetler said.
The Instruction Team found that when students receive instruction and reading materials at their current level of reading, they will improve. The group has taken three different trips to another school to observe a similar program to the Walk to Read. Currently, the group and teachers involved are reading and studying a book called The Daily 5 in to prepare themselves for the official start of the program.
“The key is to monitor student growth and adjust as the student improves and Walk to Read helps the us to do that,” Hetler explained.
Each student is placed in a classroom that will meet his/her needs according to their current reading level and instruction will be organized according to The Daily 5. This structure builds independence and a love of reading for students. The students rotate between various activities such as Word Work, Read to Self, and Meet with Teacher.
“Teachers will meet weekly to make sure the state reading standards are met and all students are learning the same concept. The key is to reach each child at his/her current reading level,” Hetler said.
Younger and struggling readers usually need to focus on phonics which is the blending of letter sounds together to form words and fluency, reading accurately and quickly. As a the young reader progresses, comprehension and expanding vocabulary is usually focused on.
“The main purpose of Walk to Read is to help students become better readers,” Hetler stated, ”This will allow them to be successful in many subject areas as they grow older.”
Another benefit Hetler and the Instruction Team want to see occur is the nurturing of a lifelong joy of reading by teaching children how to choose books they can successfully read. The Instruction Team and the teachers involved hope that the program allows students to be successful with the help of the instruction meeting them where they are developmentally.
“We truly have highly dedicated and effective teachers. This program empowers our teachers to focus on a group of readers who are at similar levels,” Hetler said.
Hetler and the faculty at LAES make a deliberate effort to develop each student socially, athletically, and academically at every chance and believe that reading is an important academic piece.
“It truly will help the child feel success in many other subject areas,” Hetler explained, “This builds confidence and contentment for each child.”
Walk to Read is an extension of the vision of Langdon Area Schools: “Empower Every Student, Every Chance, Every Day”.
LAES is working toward using every resource available to find out how they can reach each student to help the child grow.