The heart and soul of Literacy Now lies within our Reading Intervention program, a pull-out program for students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade that primarily serves Tier III students. Currently at 15 Title 1 elementary schools (14 in HISD and 1 in Aldine ISD), our program is comprised of twice weekly 45-minute sessions (1st and 2nd graders; 30 minutes for Kinder) during the school day with a low 4:1 student to interventionist ratio. Students are leveled and grouped according to a comprehensive pre-assessment. Our program delivery staff is primarily comprised of former classroom teachers who have a combined 450 years of teaching experience between them. They are highly trained, compassionate, and mission-driven, providing quality programming in an age-appropriate, culturally sensitive manner.
Our interventionists are paid staff and are trained on the Collaborative Classroom SIPPS curriculum, a research-based foundational skills program proven to help both new and struggling readers build skills and confidence for fluent, independent reading. Interventionists are also trained on the Neuhaus Reading Readiness program. This program is based upon the 5 components of reading as determined by the National Reading Panel:
- Phonemic Awareness
PHONEMIC AWARENESS AND PHONICS:
Skills taught include rhyming, recognizing and identifying sounds in words as well as segmenting and blending sounds into words. Students are also taught that letters represent phonemes, that, when blended together, form written words.
Reading interventionists model reading to students and build fluency through repeated reading of familiar books. Vocabulary is developed through the introduction and exploration of new books. Comprehension skills are built through discussion of books that promote understanding.
ALPHABET KNOWLEDGE & CONCEPTS OF PRINT:
Naming, recognition, and writing of upper and lowercase letters, as well as sorting vowels and consonants. Concepts of Print instruction includes components of a book, directionality of print, correlation of pictures to print, distinction between letters, words and sentences, as well as punctuation.
A pre-assessment provides a baseline from which to measure progress and build lessons. Mid-year results, in conjunction with ongoing monitoring of student progress, are used to drive lesson planning and develop instructional strategies. Post-testing in April measures students’ progress and program success.
WHAT SETS OUR READING INTERVENTION PROGRAM APART FROM OTHER TUTORING PROGRAMS?
- Tailored to meet the needs of each student: Ongoing evaluation is used to create lessons for individualized learning, as well as to strategically group students to accelerate progress. Literacy Now is committed to rigorous, ongoing evaluation of all its programs. Assessment data and participant surveys provide crucial information that we need to understand (and prove) our impact and make any necessary adjustments to continue to make improvements. Students participating in the Reading Intervention program are assessed three times over the school year. Specifically, we use developmentally appropriate tests and activities to evaluate their foundational reading skills, fluency, and comprehension. A pre-assessment provides the information we need to form instructional groups, adapt lesson plans, and establish a baseline for measuring student progress. We use mid-year assessments (plus ongoing monitoring) to modify lessons and strategies to ensure substantial growth for each student. Finally, we use post-test measures to assess students’ progress and program success. Meetings are held throughout the year with teachers and school administration to discuss progress and identify additional assistance that may be needed for specific students.
- Low student to interventionist ratio: We always maintain a very low 4:1 student to intervention ratio. This low ratio provides the students with individualized intervention while allowing the interventionists to develop a meaningful relationship with each child.
- Cost effective: Literacy Now pays for the majority of the costs associated with the Reading Intervention program. We require that each of our campuses pay for a portion of the direct program cost to encourage “ownership” and contribute to the partnership and overall program success. Our school contracts cover approximately 25% of the direct program cost. Our program runs for 25 weeks – late September through April and typically serves 64 students per campus at the cost of approximately $2,000 per student.
- Parent Engagement: Each of our interventionists focus on engaging the children and their families to grow a trusting relationship that will positively impact each child's life. Literacy Now understands and values parents as a child’s first and most important teacher. Therefore, Parent Engagement Workshops are offered to the parents/caregivers of our Reading Intervention students. Parents/Caregivers connect with their child’s interventionist and one another while learning new skills and participating in engaging hands-on activities that can be used at home to expand learning. Each family is provided with books to start or build home libraries and literacy kits containing activity instructions and supplies to replicate workshop activities at home. Additionally, students choose age-appropriate books throughout the program to help build their home libraries, and they receive books and materials at the end of the program to help reduce the Summer Slide.