Reading First

Discussion in 'General Education' started by singingstacy, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. singingstacy

    singingstacy Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2008

    Does anyone here work at a Reading First school? What is your opinion of it? Does it make your job harder?
     
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  3. 1st-yr-teacher

    1st-yr-teacher Comrade

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    Jun 7, 2008

    My school was a reading first school two years ago. It was my first year teaching. As a first year teacher, I found it to not be as stressful as I had heard it was going to be. I did have people coming in my room to observe what and how I was teaching, if I was on schedule or not. It was a big deal that you were following schedule and that you had a certain amount of time dedicated to reading.

    From what I experienced, it was very structured. You could only teach from the reading series and not deviate from it. Since you had to follow the curriculum and not bring anything else in, it made it easier(at least for me) as a first year teacher.

    I guess some negatives would be that you have people coming in to observe you often. You also could not do any cutsie artsy stuff or bring in outside material that you think would benefit or add onto the lessons. Also, it was stressful throughout the grades when the state person came.

    Overall, I think that as a first year teacher, it is beneficial in that you have outside support from your reading coach and structure from the reading first program. That is only my opinion though.

    I hope this helps! Weren't you offered a job at a reading first school?

    Oh, btw, you can type in reading first in the forum search and it will bring up a good amount of posts on this topic.
     
  4. singingstacy

    singingstacy Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2008

    i was offered a job at a reading first school... i wanted to find out how it was before i took the job. my friend worked at one last year and she said that they made you take an online class in addition to teaching, for the reading first program. maybe that was just at her school? thanks for your help!
     
  5. 1st-yr-teacher

    1st-yr-teacher Comrade

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    Jun 8, 2008

    I did have to go to a workshop for three days. I enjoyed it because it gave me ideas on some things to do in the classroom. I think each school is different. My school was just at the end of the grant so everybody knew exactly what to do.

    From what I experienced, as a first year teacher, I liked it.
     
  6. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Jun 8, 2008

    We had it for 2 years and then we petitioned our school board to get rid of it & there were enough teachers that hated it they pitched it.

    I think maybe our district misinterpreted some of it. Eight teachers were given discipline notices when they were caught not being on time w/their schedules.
     
  7. SaraFirst

    SaraFirst Cohort

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    Jun 8, 2008

    We have never had to take online classes. As far as I know, none of our teacher have gotten in trouble for not being on their schedule. From everything I have heard, it sounds like each state and even each school runs the grant very differently. Good luck!
     
  8. itsteach

    itsteach New Member

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    Jun 8, 2008

    Been in reading first 3 years

    Next year will be my 4th year in a reading first school. I am in Utah and we were required to get our level 1 and level 2 reading endorsements (which the district paid for). That is roughly 12 college classes. Also, I have an open door for other schools to come and watch me. I am videotaped, criticized, and the kids are dibels tested. We are compared with each other and once in a while given a compliment. The first year was very difficult and disciplined. As the years have gone by (my school has been a reading first school 5 years) it has become more lax. Our bulletin boards are mostly hand made (environmental print, alphabet letters, etc.). The biggest difference is a 3 hour literacy block every day. (I teach all day Kindergarten). We are also required to have small groups which was difficult this year due to the fact I had 30 students. Even with an aide it left 3-4 groups without supervision. For 5 year olds that is virtually impossible to do. Some teachers gave up on small groups partly through the year, but I continued to do them. Next year however, we have purchased the Scott Foresman early intervention program which requires the district to hire 3-4 aides for 30-45 min a day for small group help. I think this will begin in about November. On the upside, in reading first, you have a lot of money to purchase items and get paid stipends for things like getting videotaped (1000 dollars at Christmas) and your classes are paid for which put me in another lane change.

    I am used to it by now so Reading First to me has been an advantage to put on my resume. However, I found it difficult to be interviewed by another district because I knew "too much" and the other teachers felt threatened!

    itsteach
     
  9. sherri0318

    sherri0318 Rookie

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    Jun 21, 2008

    Last year was my first year teaching and it was at a Reading 1st school. I think all in all it was okay - it does make your job harder, that's for sure, but I looked at it like this - it will make me a better teacher by doing it this way....(or at least I kept telling myself that to get throught the days.....rofl)

    The worst part was like other posters have said - they really have a fit when you aren't on schedule. We were supposed to start whole group reading instruction at 8:15 every day.....well, most of us didn't start until 8:30, because of attendance, talking to parents who drop by wanting to chat about Johnny's performance, going over Daily Bite, etc. Well, you can rest assured that at least twice a week the principal or AP was standing in my doorway at 8:20 to see if I'd started whole-group reading. Sometime later in the day I'd be having a conference with them about my UNACCEPTABLE TIME MANAGEMENT. UGH!

    Also, once I was playing the game "Sparkle" to prepare them for their spelling test the next day and in walked the principal. I thought he'd be THRILLED to see us doing something fun and exciting to practice our spelling words - uh, no.....again.....later that day I was sitting in his office being reprimanded for playing a game during reading time - "games are for recess", he said.

    Aside from the WRENCHING SCHEDULE you must be on PRECISELY, there is ALWAYS someone in your room observing and writing stuff about what you are doing and what you have on your bulletin boards (they HAD to be educational, CURRENT to the topic being taught in the classroom and interactive if possible).

    There were so many guidelines, and I was never told what they were until I WASN'T doing them right!

    Lastly, we had inservices upon inservices to go to - some all day long, some after school, etc. It was really a pain 'cause for me all those "try this" and "do that" was too overwhelmeing - I have a real short memory (possibly even ADD) and I can't remember squat from any of the inservices!!!! LOL
     
  10. Elcsmith

    Elcsmith Companion

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I've taught at a reading first school for 1.5 years. My school was given a grant of 250,000 a year for 6 years for RF. I love it! You would not believe the growth our school has seend in the past 3 years! It's amazing to look at the growth.

    You do ALWAYS have people coming in to watch you teach and you can't integrate centers but it's worth it. It's 90 minutes of uninterrupted teaching time in your day. You can bring in the artsy fun stuff too as long as you can justify it. Just make sure in some way you can relate it to comprehension, phonics, vocabulary, phonemic awareness or fluency. One day in small groups we made oragmi bats......and if someone would have walked in I would have said we are working on following directions (which is a comp skill in second grade).

    You can do anything during RF that you can justify!
     
  11. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Jun 22, 2008

    Sherri0318, the Reading First experience at my school was like yours. I really think it depends on the people in charge of it. Our Reading First coordinator was a real WITCH and not too smart. The principal backed her up on everything because she didn't want to rock the boat. If you were 1 minute off the reading schedule you were in trouble. The teacher across the hall from me got written up because she was 7 minutes late starting reading instruction (she had a student who came in upset about something at home and was having a meltdown in the classroom - what was she supposed to do, throw him out in the hall and ignore him?). We weren't checked on a couple of times a week either - she made the rounds EVERY MORNING several times to keep a check on our schedule.

    We had better not be doing any kind of game, art, or anything that remotely resembled a fun way of learning if we didn't want to get in trouble.

    We had constant inservices, too-some all day and after school. They could have been informative, but most were a waste of time that we could have been putting to good use - a certain number of hours were required.

    She wouldn't allow us to do things we knew would help a struggling child with reading if SHE felt like they weren't RESEARCH-BASED. Never mind that something had been working with a child - if she found out and didn't approve, it had to go. I could go on all day - all the teachers at our school hated her.

    Sherri0318, are you sure you're in Louisiana and not at my school in Georgia?
     
  12. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I've worked at a Reading First school for 3 years. (We lost the grant this year.) I know it's different in all states. Here is Alabama we do DIBELS testing and weekly progress monitoring. On top of that we were expected to do these individual assessments that were with our reading program but there wasn't time built in to do them. (Basically we had to give up Math time for a few days to do them.) We also had to do SAT-10 testing in reading for 1st and 2nd grade.

    The first two years we had the grant we had two reading coaches who didn't know what to do. They would come in and pick up on one thing you did that they didn't like and put that on your observation. Last year things were much better. We had two new reading coaches who really wanted to help us not just criticize.

    Because of those first two bad years a few influential teachers in our school misunderstood Reading First and pitched a fit to get rid of it. I personally could take it or leave it. It's nice that last year I could go to the reading coach and say "I want this dry erase topped table for a center" and we had money to get it. But not having flexibility in your schedule and the extra assessments are no fun.
     
  13. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    Jun 22, 2008

    Forkids,

    I would have sworn you were at my school except you said SHE instead of HE for the Literacy Coach. Your description fits our former literacy coach PERFECTLY. I was NEVER so glad to see someone leave. His replacement left me alone and allowed me to teach. All my kids passed testing last year and all except 1 this year. There were other issues going on with her so I was pleased to be able to actually teach my kids and loosely follow the timeframe and not have the pain in the a** breathing down my neck trying to catch me 30 seconds past the time to transition from comprehension to vocabulary (I am not exaggerating). I am hopeful that I will be allowed to follow the schedule loosely again this coming year. It makes things a lot less stressful for 135 minutes a day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008
  14. sherri0318

    sherri0318 Rookie

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    LOL - to quote Lofty on Bob the Builder: um, yeah, I think so....rofl - sorry, I have a 3 year old :lol:
     
  15. mccallman

    mccallman New Member

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    Aug 15, 2008

    I'm looking for someone who goes by the name of "itsteach," lives in the Ogden area and could meet for lunch. mccallman at yahoo dot com.
     
  16. itsteach

    itsteach New Member

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    Aug 16, 2008

    Thats me Mccallman

    Whats up??? Give me more info LOL
     
  17. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Aug 16, 2008

    Is reading first and literacy first the same thing? I had heard of reading first many times in my home state, but since I've moved, all I hear about is literacy first :crosseyed:
     

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