Reynoldsburg News

Third-grade guarantee

Programs to help students pass reading test

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Reynoldsburg's intervention teachers are getting into gear to help third-graders who are struggling to meet the state's third-grade reading guarantee.

That means more monitoring of students who need help and reaching out to parents with tips on how to encourage reading and literacy development at home, according to Jana Alig, director of accountability and improvement for the district.

The state will release final numbers Dec. 13 for the third-grade reading test administered in the fall. Districts received preliminary results of the fall test on Nov. 25.

Tricia Moore, director of shared services and communication for Reynoldsburg schools, said 502 students took the fall reading test.

She said 132 students scored below the required score of 392 on the test, but 59 of those students are eligible for exemptions because they are on individualized education plans (IEP).

Teachers will be working with the remaining 73 students to help them pass the spring test, Moore said.

Any students identified as "not on track" for their grade level must be retained in third grade at the end of this school year, according to state law, unless they pass the state reading test in the spring.

Alig said Reynoldsburg schools assess students to gauge whether they are "on track" for meeting the state reading requirements by the end of their third-grade year.

"All schools notify students' parents of their status, as required by the state," she said. "All the schools have also partnered this year to offer early literary resources and strategies to parents."

She said two three-session workshops for parents of young readers began last month, one for emerging or early readers and another for independent readers.

"The goal is to give parents strategies and resources so they can support their children's literacy development at home," Alig said.

She said third-graders who are deemed "not on track" are monitored every two weeks. Intervention teachers meet about every four weeks.

"Each of our elementary schools is reviewing options for serving students who need to be retained," she said. "It is possible that some students who are performing well in other academic subjects would be served in fourth-grade classes while still receiving third-grade reading instruction. Others may need to receive all third-grade instruction."

Alig said board policy allows for students to be promoted mid-year, if necessary.

The district released tips for ways parents could help struggling readers earlier this school year. The suggestions included talking and listening to children, reading to them, encouraging early writing efforts, reading newspapers, books and other things in front of children and going to the library to check out books to read together.

Moore said Superintendent Steve Dackin "remains supportive of the third-grade reading guarantee to ensure all students have the literacy skills necessary to access higher-level content across subjects."

Speaking in May as part of an education panel on Capitol Square hosted by the Fordham Institute, Dackin said the third-grade reading requirements have "literally transformed teachers' approach to the classroom."

"It allows them to spend time in a different way, to focus more on teaching," he said.

He said the blended learning going on across the curriculum in Reynoldsburg also allows children to pursue their passions.

"I think our goal in Reynoldsburg is to have an individualized education plan for every child," he said.

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