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Leetonia teachers put emphasis on enhanced reading

November 12, 2012
Morning Journal News

LEETONIA- Leetonia Elementary teachers have joined together for a new reading program aimed at enhancing students' education.

The Guided Reading Program implemented this fall coincides with the new state legislation Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which requires all third-grade students reach a certain level of achievement before advancing to fourth grade.

According to Tiffany Davis, fourth-grade teacher and elementary literacy coach, the program involves all students in kindergarten through fourth grade. She said teachers work with small groups of students grouped according to reading level.

Groups change depending on the individual needs and goals for every student and instruction is determined by the students' need, she added. Through the program, teachers are better able to know their students' skill sets and how they are progressing, Davis explained. Teachers discuss with the students the goals on which they are currently working and take anecdotal notes on the groups, she said.

"[The teachers] know the kids a lot better," she said. "The conferences and notes show who can do what and helps us know what skills are lacking."

Based on a model developed by teaching professional that has proven successful at other area districts including United Local and Struthers, the Guided Reading Program at Leetonia incorporates over 90 minutes of reading instruction each day that can be used in all facets of the classroom curriculum, Davis said.

"The advantage is that it is not just about reading," she said. " It's a fluid program that goes across all curriculum. It helps [the students] think more whenever they are reading."

Davis said that through the program, teachers can set learning targets and then go a little above the reading levels, encouraging the students to improve and establishing running records of their skill sets.

"There is a constant increase in abilities," she said.

For those who have trouble, though, there is individualized intervention. Teachers can work individually with students while the rest of the class works as a group or parents can come in and work with the students who are having trouble keeping up, Davis noted.

"We realized there was a student need and saw that [the program] was working at other schools," she said. "It's fun for the students, too. It's just a great program with tremendous support from the administration."



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