Raising Reading Achievement
In order to raise children's reading achievement, we must change classroom reading instruction.
SAReads provides training, instructional coaching and tools to help teachers acquire the specialized science-based reading instruction knowledge to successfully teach children to read. Most children require explicit instruction to successfully learn to read. Louisa Moats states, "code-emphasis instruction is necessary in the early grades because most reading problems unfold in the very beginning stages of literacy acquisition. The most important insight of modern reading research has been the recognition that phonics instruction may not 'take' with young readers unless they are aware of the segments of speech represented by the graphemes used to spell words."
If children require explicit instruction in the early grades, it follows that elementary teachers need to provide explicit reading instruction or science-based reading instruction (SBRI). However, this specialized disciplinary knowledge is difficult to acquire through typical teacher education channels. SAReads addresses this need in two ways:
1. Knowledgeable instructors at Texas A&M University - San Antonio College of Education and Human Development design and implement research-based teacher education courses. SAReads provides clinical experience so preservice teachers enrolled in literacy instruction courses learn to use research-based instruction methods while they tutor elementary students. SAReads provides tutors with instructional support and tools.
2. In partnership with Southwest ISD, SAReads provides SBRI training, coaching and support directly to classroom teachers in elementary schools. When training is followed by ongoing coaching and teamwork in a culture of collaboration, teachers apply SBRI in their classrooms and student achievement improves dramatically. Thousands of students benefit from improving reading instruction schoolwide across multiple elementary campuses. Southwest ISD wishes to be an example to other districts that optimal literacy is possible through coordinated efforts to improve reading instruction.
The more teachers know about the English language and how the brain learns to read, the more they are equipped to assess students' reading abilities and provide the explicit instruction that keeps them moving forward.
Finally, many teachers must pay out-of-pocket to purchase books for their classrooms. The SAReads Book Bank provides thousands of books each year to Bexar County teachers free-of-change.
Literacy San Antonio, Inc. evaluates reading outcomes using data provided by the school district (IStation and STAAR), the same data school administrators and the State of Texas use to evaluate student outcomes. Research shows that by building the SBRI capacity of teachers, the majority of students learn to read successfully at elementary schools that establish a complete literacy support system.
"Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery." Horace Mann