How we turned around our reading program


Rockford Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in Illinois, with more than 28,800 students and 44 schools.

Biggest challenge:

There were many gaps in foundational reading across classrooms before we piloted our new reading program. It didn’t seem that we had a common methodology to teach foundational literacy. We were looking for a resource to fill this gap. We also were lacking in the area of personalized learning that supported foundational literacy skills. We were having trouble supporting students who needed extra help while providing enrichment for students who were already thriving.


Every single student needs whole-group instruction that’s explicit, modeled, and demonstrated by teachers. Our literacy program supports best practice by encouraging teachers to implement the “I do, we do, you do,” approach to learning. After whole-group instruction, our teachers designate time for small-group learning. The expectation district-wide is for K–5 small-group lessons to happen every day. Teachers meet students where they are in their learning, using data to drive instruction. In Rockford, small-group instruction includes skill-based groups, guided reading, or literature circles.…Read More

Why we love our reading software

It’s no secret that strong reading skills are part of the foundation of students’ academic success. Without a solid reading foundation, students are more likely to perform poorly or drop out of school.

Students don’t have to stick to paperback books to cultivate a love of reading, however—there are digital platforms that keep students engaged, pinpoint areas where students need to improve and give them the tools to do so, and also send important data to teachers for more individualized instruction.

Here, educators share their favorite reading software and offer insight into what makes these specific tools so helpful in supporting students’ reading habits.…Read More