Reading First... anyone with information???

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by melissa74, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    Apr 19, 2006


    I wish I had additional support but unfortunately I do not. We do have aides who run our intervention groups and those are tailored very specifically to the skills those children need help building. For instance there may be 3 children who are working specifically on phonemic awareness, 4 on letter naming, another group on decoding words, etc.

    As far as my baskets are concerned, I circulate the floor and help those children who need me, also they work with a group of 5 children of varying levels so they help each other as well.

    I decide on my basket activities based partially on what we are studying that week in the reading program....for instance if we are introducing a letter we will have a basket activity working on that letter. I also choose baskets to make sure I am hitting the important areas of literacy...phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, and fluency. I am not sure if I am answering your question...let me know.
     
  2. teach for fun91

    teach for fun91 Rookie

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    Apr 19, 2006

    You did about the baskets and how you came up with the ideas. I would love to do something like that, but with having to teach 50 whole group with no aides or push in support, I do not know how I would be fulfilling the 90 direct instruction requirement for all 25 of my students daily. I get 40 min of pushin support now, but that still does not allow for small groups if all of our students are supposed to get direct instruction for the full 90 min.
    This is what I used to do prior to this news I recieved today:
    9:50-10:30
    Shared Literature, lesson map templates, phonemic awareness drills inside Harcourt and discussion of new sight words for the week.

    10:30-11:20--I would split my kids into groups and differentiate each rotation based on need. Table 1--Read and rotate the parts of the poem read for shared literature. All kids had to read all 4 parts. At table 2, kids read the independent story that fit with the basal according to their reading level and ability and read past/present decodable based on ability. It's different for each child. At table 3, children had to build words based on the sound we were working on for the week. At table 4, children worked with partners on spelling words and used HF words in sentences with partners to improve vocabulary and comprehension. At table 5, children rotated to me Mon-Tues to read the story from the basal and then on Wed-Friday I would spend extra time with my strategic/intensive kids to review templates. Meanwhile at 10:45-11:20 my push in person took a different group daily to help them on the skill for that week they needed help with based on Dibels/Holistic tests, etc.

    Now that we have teach to all students for 90 min using direct instruction, this model doesn't work anymore. My Dibel scores are pretty good and I don't know how to change based on our new requirements.
     
  3. Teacherpam

    Teacherpam Rookie

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    Apr 23, 2006

    Teachers are written up on both evaluations. We have a lot of first year teachers and they are very discouraged. I am a veteran teacher (13 years), but keep missing the CSET by one and seven points in between a death threatening illness. Now I just float and try to help the new teachers because the principal and VP know I can. The pay is not good but I love teaching. I am also in a masters program for reading and literacy.
    I love the blocks you were talking about. Wish our district could do that. Keep up the great work.
    Teacher Pam
     
  4. Teacherpam

    Teacherpam Rookie

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    Apr 23, 2006

    Be happy! We have no aides at all. At least you can vary your program to make it enjoyable for students. It is difficult to teach when half the class speaks no English and special ed students have been mainstreamed with no aide. Unfortunately, I have found the few that are gifted have been left behind and are not challenged because the focus is on low achievers.
    Teacher Pam
     
  5. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2006

    Pam 1212- I am also on Long Island, and read your post. I am kind of "out of the loop" on Reading first as I am not currently in a classroom. You said that you do this in addition to your regular reading program? How do you get other subjects done? Sounds tough. What about guided reading? Is that different? Any help would be useful, so I can start brushing up before interviews.
     
  6. Teacherpam

    Teacherpam Rookie

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    Apr 23, 2006

    I am in northern California. We are only allowed to teach Language Arts and Math.
     
  7. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2006

    Thanks Pam... sorry, I thought I saw someone from LI... Despite the hardwork, you sound like you really got it together...
     
  8. kathy2215

    kathy2215 Companion

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    Jul 8, 2006

    I was aprt of the reading first program last year. I did not encounter all these problems. I think the problenms are determined by the school and how they set it up. we were alloed to break into readifng groups as long as the kids i was workign with at the tiem were receiving direct instruction. The rest of the studnets had to be working on one or more of the 5 componets
     
  9. Tommytune45

    Tommytune45 Rookie

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    Sep 7, 2006

    After sifting 48 posts I find I'm the only music teacher (or special) to impart some thought into your core world... Thanks to “Reading First” between this last June and now, my third graders lost 30% of their general music class time, 4th/5th grades g.m. cut in half to one music class per week. Chorus cut in half to one rehearsal per week. Bell Choir cut. Ball Room Dance, cut. (Yes, I teach ballroom dance.) They would have cut art classes as well but that would have resulted in pure elimination of the subject. Thank God, my own children slipped through before “Reading At All Costs” dropped into our laps. As for all the pull out services—social, psyche, dental, head checks, speech, tutoring, Catholic “faith formation classes” dare I suggest before or after school? I am a highly paid therapist attempting to “re-right” the imbalance of children’s right brains. Skip ahead—music and the arts will have no significant role in Reading First schools throughout America. Never mind that. You need a plumber, carpenter, electrician and right now! “Sorry, nobody here but us white collar college cubicle types. Need your computer fixed?" As a kid, you would not have appreciated my presence in your classroom. But I CAN fix your pipes, carpentry and electrical. True, I learned that by reading but my love of reading came from the music room.
     
  10. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    Sep 7, 2006

    Wow...after reading the posts it sounds like the Reading First grant is a death sentence for teacher creativity...
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 7, 2006

    I suspect that there are circumstances in which the discipline it imposes can be useful - for instance, a beginning teacher is probably very grateful to have some decisions taken out of her hands - but it seems to me that there are enough variables in learning to read that there's bound to be student-to-student variation in the how of the learning.

    Could someone post some links or references to the research that's supposed to support Reading First?
     
  12. kathy2215

    kathy2215 Companion

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    Sep 7, 2006

    I do not agree with you at all. Music is not as importnat as children learning to read. In todays society we have the highest illetatcy rate ever, we need to do everything we can to help these children. If specials need to take a hit then so be it, I have ahd to have fieldtrips take a hit as well as other activities, but without readign you can not survive in this world. Reading is essential not ball room dancing.

     
  13. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Sep 7, 2006

    Student differentiation and support are a big part of reading first. Not only do you have 90 minutes of uninterrupted instruction but it is a requirement to provide 30 minutes additional intervention for strategic kids and an additional 60 minutes A DAY for intensive kids. In a perfect world where each kid was reading at grade level, then it's fine for a focus to be on teacher creativity, but that's not the truth for a big part of the nation. When a third grader is reading at a first grade level, they need all the support they can get. Reading First provides the accountability for teachers to provide the best instruction. Yes, there is not alot of freedom but remember, this is a job. Not many other careers allow people the freedom and flexibility to be able to do whatever they want to do.
     
  14. Tommytune45

    Tommytune45 Rookie

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    Sep 7, 2006

    in reference to Kathy 2215: You treat the concept of arts enriched education as an all or nothing issue. It's an obtuse notion that you willingly kill the arts to obtain literacy. As if "the place ain't big enough fer the two of us!" Frankly, I have to be wildly creative to entice kids to give up recess to be in my chorus. Could you draw them to your classes under the same assumptions?
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2006
  15. Tommytune45

    Tommytune45 Rookie

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    Sep 7, 2006

    "highest illetatcy rate ever?"

    I was going to argue that point but I defer to your expertise in that area.
     
  16. claudine2000

    claudine2000 Rookie

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    Jan 6, 2007

    My school is in its 1st year of a Reading First grant. One of the main components is that each RF teacher is required to have 40 hours of professional development during the school year in reading. In KS, a chunk of that was done during a one week session over the summer.
    This is my 2nd year teaching. When I heard last year that we were going to have to go to this week long training I was kind of excited thinking that I would get some new ideas, strategies to make me a better teacher. That was not the case... the majority of the week was spent on with them shoving research down our throats.
    Who cares if I know why I should do it if I don't know how to do
    it???
    We weren't a RF school last year, but since our school struggles with reading, some of the district staff showed us some of the strategies the other RF schools were using. Since last year was my 1st year, I'm not sure which ones were RF and which weren't.
    Our whole district got a new basal series this year. We are using Macmillian/McGrawHill Treasures. I like this one a lot better than the one last year. Treasures has a really good balance of non-fiction and fiction text and comes with leveled readers for each main story (Beyond, On-level, ELL and Approaching). Usually if the main story is fiction the leveled reader is non-fiction and vice versa.
    We still have the same reading block structure for the most part. It is a 2 hr basically uninterrupted block. 30 min for a read aloud, 75 min reading instruction and 15 min reflection. RF is very strict about it being uninterrupted. At the beginning of the year, one grade had their read aloud before lunch and the rest of the block after lunch. When the RF people got heard about this they flipped out. We also have 30 min of reading intervention/enrichment depending on the kids, but our school was already doing that last year.
    There is a lot of testing involved. Last year we gave the Dibels 3 times a year. This year (I think I have this right) if you are at some risk (strategic) you take it 5 x a year. If you are at risk (intensive) you take it once a month.
    My biggest problem is the lack of flexibility. It is hardcore Big 5 - phonemic awareness, phonics, vocab, fluency and comprehension. I teach some deaf kids. They can't hear the sounds, so why should they have to sit through PA and phonics when I could be working with them on other reading strategies? We did find a way to adapted PA and phonics to make it more accessible for them, but it turns out that it is not research based so we had to stop doing it.
    With our RF money we have purchased some laptop and SmartBoard sets for classrooms. The kids love them. That is the only thing I know for sure that the money has been spent on.
    Sorry this is so long... I just thought of one thing that bugs me about the RF grant. A lot of the kids at my school have gaps in their background knowledge. Our district has a subscription to unitedstreaming.com which had video clips about many topics. Because of RF, we are not allowed to show even a 1min. clip during the reading block. If it directly relates to the topic of the story and helps the kids comprehend better when they read WHY NOT!!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2007
  17. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    Jan 6, 2007

    Claudine,

    I know exactly where you are coming from... we are in the THIRD (and thankfully last) year of our grant. The lack of flexibility is the part that I have had difficulty with for the last three years... the first year of the grant I had title kids (PK-1 level in 2nd) and was not allowed to supply the type of instruction that they needed because the grant wouldn't allow it... last year I had a mixed level of kids from Title to ELL to Gifted... the average kids did ok with the instruction and made progress but they would have done so anyway. The ELL and Title kids didn't do as well because my hands were tied due to the restrictions. This year I have a large number of Gifted children... they are making progress with the way that the program is structured because I have a large amount of the block geared to fluency/buddy reading/comprehension strategies and basically the only actual Phonics/phonemic awareness instruction that we do is with our spelling list each day. I definitely feel your pain on the fact that you can't use unitedstreaming videos though... that is so frustrating especially when I would like to show them something to reinforce the skill and have come to the point that I will play it in the morning during morning work or after the reading block before I start math. If I feel it would enhance their learning then I make sure that I figure out a way to show them the video. Good luck and just keep telling yourself Reading First Grants WILL go away EVENTUALLY. Everything in education goes in cycles... so this too will pass.. There is already a great deal of challenge to it in Washington and around the country.. hopefully they will find a better use of education money because we have found at our school because of the restrictions placed on us by the grant and the amount of time that we are required to spend on Reading it makes it very hard to fit other things like grammar, writing and math in and you might as well forget social studies, science, and health. Unless you do those subjects with a read aloud you are out of luck. Read Alouds don't do Science/Soc/Health justice. We have also noticed a decline in Math and Language Arts scores on standardized testing. So now even though we are still hogtied with the Reading First Grant our administration is freaking out about the fact the other areas of scores have fallen. We are in a no win situation for the rest of this year as far as I can see. We will just have to hope that we can complete this year, our kids do ok on the end of year testing and then next year we can actually teach the way that we need to teach to make sure our children achieve to the maximum that they are actually capable of since we can give the instruction that they actually need.
    Again I offer you my condolences.. but you can survive it... just keep telling yourself it will go away.
     
  18. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2007

    MelissainGa- Since you've had experience with the 3 years I have some questions about Reading First. First, did your school have a dramatic increase in students reading scores? Was your school underperforming? Even though your school is almost done with the grant is your school still going to continue with different components of Reading First? Last, did your school have a high turnover the first two years?
    Thanks!
     
  19. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    Jan 7, 2007

    Kat53,

    We did have an increase in student Reading scores but as I said this was at the cost of our Language Arts and Math Scores. Our school qualified due to low scores and also due to the "make-up" of our school population. There are certain components of the Reading First that I would like to see us continue with such as the DIBELS, but only as a fluency test not as the end all be all to drive instruction which is what it is considered at this point. Other schools in the county that aren't Reading First are using DIBELS but only as a way to monitor increases in fluency. The concentration on the core curriculum is also agreeable as a driving force and a starting point for reading instruction however, the restriction where I couldn't even use a teacher made test to test my students rather than the CRCT Test provided by the curriculum when the CRCT test didn't provide a thorough assessment is totally ridiculous. Also the consensous about the length of time that is spent on the reading block is that 90 minutes would be an adequate amount of time to spend on the reading block, trying to drag the material out for 2 hours and 15 minutes (the length of our current literacy block) is way too long to try and make the students concentrate on this material without being able to break it up. In answer to your last question YES we had a large number of teachers decide to find other locations for their employment after years one and two. We have several that have said they are possibly going to look elsewhere this year because they are afraid too many of the restrictions that we have suffered through this year are going to remain. I am hopeful that they will do as they suggested however and give us a chance to cut the reading block down to 90 minutes uninterrupted, allow us to do our read aloud at another time, and allow us to teach grammar and writing again (which we haven't been able to do for the last two years). We can only see. The only good thing that I can see that has come out of the grant is that we were able to order alot of the supplemental materials that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to like the phonics readers (enough for almost our entire classroom) and the leveled readers (a set for each classroom) and additions to our classroom library. Other than that I honestly can't see a great deal that the grant has done.

    Melissa
     
  20. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2007

    Melissa-thanks for the honest opinion. i am in a year one school and just want to hear different opinions and views.
     

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