Building reading skills in primary leads to strong learning in later grades

Blended learningFor parents who want their children to go to college, there is one very important skill those children will need: mastery of written and spoken words and the ability to use them to describe their world. Educators refer to this as literacy.

At every grade level and subject, whether it’s reading, math, science or history, knowing the related vocabulary is essential to learning. You can’t study world history if you don’t know the words used to describe the subject matter.  But as important as literacy is at every level, research suggests that literacy skill building is the most important in elementary school, and third grade in particular. One notable study by the  American Educational Research Association  found that a student who reads on grade level by third grade is four times more likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who doesn’t read proficiently by that time.  Our Uplift teachers help scholars toward proficiency by instilling the mechanics of reading so they can start reading for understanding as early as possible.

Uplift’s Elementary Curriculum Coordinator Monica Warren said reading at grade level by third grade is important because it opens up learning opportunities in other subjects as scholars get older.

“By the time a scholar reaches the upper primary grades, they are no longer learning to read – instead, they are reading to learn about new topics and to learn more about things that interest them. That is why third grade is so often considered an essential time in literacy and development. When a scholar struggles with reading in third grade (and beyond), they are left learning reading basics, while their reading fluent peers are able to gain knowledge at a very rapid pace in multiple subject areas, including abstract topics,” she said.

To help scholars reach and exceed their literacy goals, Uplift incorporates literacy into math, science and other subjects.  Ms. Warren says the network uses one-on-one reading and writing attention for scholars who might require extra help.  Some schools in the network increasingly rely on technology to help scholars make gains.

School Director Christine Denison said Uplift Triumph, which serves kindergarten through third grade, uses tablets in classrooms for additional help during their most sacred time of day.

“At Uplift Triumph we call our guided reading (small group) block ‘sacred’ and have worked to ensure that we are strategically using all of our resources and staff during this time. We have arranged our schedule so that during this hour block there are always two teachers in the room working with scholars in small groups according to their reading level. In this way, all scholars are able to receive small group, targeted reading instruction daily.”

Ms. Denison said that the combination of high-quality instruction and targeted literacy practice using high quality blended learning tools can lead to huge gains in our scholars’ reading levels over the course of the .  To help scholars make necessary literacy advances by the third grade, parents can help by reading with their children at home.  Primary Curriculum Coordinators Monica Warren and Chelsea Harned have some helpful reading tips for parents looking to help their children make literacy gains at home. These home reading tips are just a few of the steps that you can take to help your child become a better reader.

Uplift primary teachers across the network are working hard to create a strong foundation filled with lots of words and an understanding of how to use them because they know it will help every scholar be a well-rounded and eager learner as they move towards college and beyond.


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