In Neshaminy School District, northeast of Philadelphia, nearly 20 percent of our struggling K–2 students spend 30 minutes a day, five days a week in small-group reading intervention. To limit the time these students spend in intervention programs, we have an “all hands on deck” approach: With parental involvement and our blended learning model, Neshaminy educators identify and build upon students’ strengths to lay the foundation for reading success.
Our blended model starts with an engaging digital curriculum, one-to-one instruction, and small-group work. After we implemented this approach districtwide last year, we saw enormous growth in a majority of our students, especially among struggling or reluctant readers. Ten to 15 percent of students entering the intervention program at the start of the school year were able to “graduate” and transition back to the traditional classroom by January. We have found that by focusing on phonics and the skills needed to decode the English language, our students are able to bring what they’ve learned into the classroom, effectively bridging the gap between intervention and our ELA curriculum.
Teaching students to decode
Up until four years ago, each school’s reading intervention staff developed materials based on best practices. With the goal of making students proficient readers before they entered third grade, a small team of teachers attended trainings through Reading Horizons, and quickly realized how powerful the decoding approach could be for their students. Every year we’ve expanded our use of the curriculum, and today use it in all seven of Neshaminy’s elementary schools.…Read More