In spring 2016, SAReads met with Education Service Center Region 20, Teach for America - San Antonio, San Antonio Alliance, Southwest ISD, and Texas A&M University - San Antonio to begin the planning process for an initiative to systemically improve student reading outcomes by training teachers in science-based reading instruction (SBRI).
Research concludes that supporting teachers through training in SBRI and ongoing professional coaching will help even the most struggling child achieve reading proficiency. SAReads and their partners developed a pilot initiative that includes SBRI training for all teachers at an entire elementary school, as well as ongoing professional support throughout the academic year. SAReads plans to replicate the model at additional schools over subsequent years.
Kindergarten through 5th grade teachers from Spicewood Park Elementary School, including math and science teachers, participated in a three-day intensive training by the Institute for Public School Initiatives (IPSI). IPSI is part of the College of Education at the University of Texas Austin, and provides high-quality professional learning for public school districts. Through hands-on activities and group exercises, teachers were immersed in learning the five components of reading instruction: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.
Training topics ranged from morphology, digraphs and diphthongs, to tiered academic vocabulary, affixes and decoding.
One hundred percent of participating teachers agreed that the training enhanced their understanding of SBRI in classroom instruction, and will help them develop lesson plans for their classes next year.
During the school year, teachers will receive additional professional coaching and instructional support from SAReads, Spicewood Park Elementary staff and ESC Region-20.