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Articles: Language Arts

Literacy changes taking hold in schools recognize the subject’s expansion from traditional textbooks to online readings, images and audio. New learning standards ask students to read more closely and write more analytically, meaning teachers must adapt curriculum to get students reading earlier.

High achievers did significantly better in reading while staying stagnant in math, according to the Nation’s Report Card. (Click to enlarge)

From 2013 to 2015, reading scores dipped from 288 to 287, out of 500 total. Math scores also went down a point, from 153 to 152, out of 300. The lowest-performing students showed the biggest drop.

Through e-content provider OverDrive, Texas district sees major upswing in books read

Increasing the use of digital library content was one of the goals outlined in the North East Independent School District’s (ISD) instructional improvement plan starting in the 2013-14 school year. The San Antonio district, which enrolls 68,000 students, had many eBooks and digital audiobooks, but most students were simply not using the content.

“It is hard to provide everything students could want in one print collection,” says Faye Hagerty, director of library services. “But online collections allow us to provide far more options.”

Mesquite ISD Superintendent David Vroonland says he has worked to give teachers more autonomy.

Mesquite ISD Superintendent David Vroonland says his own atypical childhood has driven his focus on teachers and improving the culture for students in need.

Literacy solution myON expands reading resource options in Idaho district

A wealth of choices. Accessible at home or at school. Both fiction and nonfiction options. Those were the qualifications for new ELA software for the 37,000 students of West Ada School District in western Idaho.

“We had other instructional reading tools, but they were very expensive and did not provide content at the time,” says Laura Gilchrist, ELA curriculum coordinator.

In this objective look into a subject that has generated much debate, Ovid K. Wong and Chak Lau examine critical elements in preparing teachers and decision-makers for the tenure application process.

By all accounts, Marysville School District in Michigan is a high-success, high-performance district. While the average state graduation rate hovers at about 78 percent, Marysville graduates 95 percent of its students. It’s a point of pride that students exit Marysville—a suburban community located 55 miles northeast of Detroit—prepared to meet the rigorous demands of higher education.

School’s certainly in session for canines throughout the nation: Therapy dogs, security dogs, and service dogs walk the halls alongside students in many schools. Here is a look at five more districts that have welcomed canines into classrooms in recent years.

Leaders in Johnston County Schools in central North Carolina knew they needed to find more effective ways to help struggling students, close the achievement gap and meet their core instructional priorities. So they carefully planned a pilot program to choose the best adaptive learning system for the district’s 25,000 K8 students and their educators.

Connecticut elementary schools see boost in books read and Lexile scores after implementing myON

The push toward digital learning in Meriden Public Schools in Connecticut started about six years ago with a simple premise: Learning doesn’t stop when school ends. Superintendent Mark D. Benigni understood that advancing off-campus education would require a strong and engaging digital reading program. Soon he knew he had a winner with myON, which provides anytime, anywhere access to more than 10,000 enhanced digital books with multimedia supports, real-time reporting and assessments, and embedded close reading tools.

Kicking a soccer ball might feel a bit like poetry—the power of your foot sending the ball curling through the air to a teammate or into the back of a net. Washington, D.C., teacher Julie Kennedy has for the past 20 years paired verse with the world’s most popular sport to provide a safe haven for thousands of urban students.

OverDrive provides Colorado district with thousands  of eBooks and audiobooks for digital library and curriculum

With over 33,000 students and 52 school sites, it can be challenging to provide accessible content to all students in the St. Vrain Valley School District. Another challenge for the district located north of Denver is economic disparity, which can make achieving equity difficult.

“We have pockets of wealth and pockets of poverty in our district, as well as five bilingual elementary schools,” says Kahle Charles, executive director of curriculum for St. Vrain. “But we wanted all students to have access to the same resources.”

Nearly 10 percent of the 18,680 students in the South Bend Community School Corporation in north central Indiana are English language learners. With students of varying levels of proficiency spread across the district’s 33 schools, finding solutions to help students increase their skills, particularly in reading comprehension, proved difficult.

In spring 2014, leaders at the state’s Department of Education realized that Indiana’s high population of migrant students was not served as optimally as possible.

Districts nationwide have more than 10 different titles for “literacy specialist."

Districts must navigate a larger number of titles and skill sets when hiring qualified literacy specialists to implement new learning standards and to improve students’ reading and writing performance.

Traditionally, a reading specialist worked in small groups or one-on-one with struggling students.

John M. Nelson III served as the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at Chula Vista Elementary School District

For more information, visit www.achieve3000.com

John M. Nelson III served as the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at Chula Vista Elementary School District, located halfway between San Diego and Mexico in San Diego County. In 2010, when the Common Core State Standards were adopted by California, he knew the 30,000-student district needed to help students get comfortable reading and writing about nonfiction texts and using technology for assessments

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