During the 2015 – 2016 school year, I decided to challenge my students to improve their reading level by one grade level. We set the goal at 1/2 grade level for some students. My kiddos really want to be able to read and read at a more proficient level. We have tried a few different strategies to help improve reading abilities and have seen some success. We wanted more progress. A colleague had used the RazKids reading program during the previous school year and had seen a lot of improvement. I did not have access to RazKids, but I did have access to Reading A-Z.
The first thing I did was administer the San Diego Quick Assessment to my students to determine their current reading level. I completed this assessment three times over the course of the 2015 – 2016 school year. The first time was in August to determine a baseline. Then it was done again in December. Finally, it was completed in May. After the reading level was determined, I started reviewing the Dolch sight words and created flash cards. I created a binder to store the materials. The binder was dived by levels. The flash cards were made and placed in groups of no more than ten words per group. The flash cards were clipped together and placed in a pencil pouch in the binder. I did this for each of the word groups. Behind these groups, I inserted a simple data collection sheet. I had decided to use the system of least prompting when working with the flash cards. Since the San Diego Assessment had been administered, I had an idea of the level to begin each student on. It was time for instruction.
I wanted the students to be held accountable for their learning. In addition to the flash cards, the students had homework. I created a home work folder for each student. I inserted a reading log sheet for parents to sign off on as well as a leveled reader book from the Reading A-Z website. (I printed these out in black and white. Color costs way too much!) Each Monday the students would receive a new reader and a new log sheet. Each day that the students came in with their homework completed and the log sheet signed, they would receive an extra 10 minutes of free time. This was a great motivator! On Fridays, I would collect the homework folder in order to prepare it for Monday. There was no homework over the weekend.
Each day I had the students read me their leveled reader. I noted on the log sheet the words missed, so I could focus on those. After reading, we immediately practiced the flash cards. Students read the same book each day for one week.
I am pleased to note that one of my student’s increased her reading level by two grade levels. Three other students increased their reading levels by one grade level. Two of them increased by 1/2 a grade level. Since they did not make it to preprimer, the progress sheet shows no growth. (Although, I was thrilled with the half a grade level.) One of my students maintained at a 2nd grade level reading since we focused on comprehension with him.
After working on the reading, I started including a comprehension quiz. The students read the book to me for three consecutive days. On Wednesday after reading the book, I administered the comprehension quiz from the Reading A-Z website. Comprehension scores also started to rise.