SAReads Summer 2018 Newsletter
Reading Achievement On The Rise!
Spicewood Park Elementary and Southwest ISD are raising reading achievement by changing core instruction in the classroom. The key to children's reading success is in the classroom!
SAReads' First Literacy Campus
Children at Spicewood Park Elementary love reading and learning! At the first SAReads Literacy Campus, Principal Krista Nail and her team of teachers and coaches piloted how to build a system of reading excellence for some of the most at risk students in our city.
Spicewood Park Elementary accepted the challenge to embed Science-Based Reading Instruction (SBRI) in core instruction. The multi-year project began by focussing on kindergarten through 2nd grade so children enter 3rd grade with a solid reading foundation. Like many experienced educators, Principal Nail was not familiar with the power of SBRI before this pilot project. She and her team enthusiastically “engaged in the adult learning needed to help students learn to read.” They did a fantastic job and students are thriving!
Exciting news! Results at Spicewood Park demonstrate reading success is possible for all children through SBRI. Prior to embedding SBRI in classroom instruction, only 63% of Spicewood Park second graders met/approached reading on grade level. After only one year of SBRI in the classroom, an incredible 80% of second graders met/approached reading on grade level. See SAReads Dashboard.
Impact & Growth
SAReads is growing! We will embed SBRI in core instruction at all eleven Southwest ISD elementary schools starting fall 2018. Reading outcomes will continue to rise as children are properly taught letters and sounds in a logical sequence (i.e., code-based or phonics instruction) while they learn to read from kindergarten though 2nd grade. They are also learning reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills. In partnership with Southwest ISD, SAReads is helping align core instruction with the latest reading research so all children can successfully learn to read. This addresses the important need which Mark Seidenberg recently described on NPR, “The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child’s brain.”
Who Made It Happen
Spicewood Park Elementary teachers rose to the challenge by changing their daily practice to SBRI. A variety of specialized professionals supported to their learning with training, coaching and advice.
- Southwest ISD Literacy Coordinator Renee Munn provided reading instruction training during weekly professional learning communities (“PLC’s”).
- ESC Region 20 ELAR Specialist Shannon Abercrombie provided technical training, advice and coaching.
- The Institute for Public School Initiatives (“IPSI”) at UT Austin provided an SBRI workshop for all Spicewood Park Elementary teachers and staff.
- SAReads Program Facilitator Jack Mitts provided planning and support for teachers and trainers throughout the pilot project.
Congratulations to Principal Krista Nail and her amazing teachers for leading the way to embed SBRI in classroom instruction in San Antonio! This is just the beginning.
SAReads By the Numbers!
Each semester approximately 200 preservice teachers tutor approximately 400 kindergarten through 4th grade students. SAReads tutors are enrolled in literacy instruction courses at A&M-SA and they apply SBRI when tutoring children. SAReads also provides thousands of free books to children, teachers and nonprofit. In Academic Year 2017-18:
460 students (k-4) tutored in Southwest ISD
- 381 preservice teachers from A&M-SA practiced SBRI as SAReads tutors
- 352 students (k-2) benefited from SBRI at Spicewood Park Elementary
- 16 teachers at Spicewood Park Elementary practiced SBRI in core instruction.
- 5,964 new books provided to SAReads students
- 55,179 books provided to Bexar County children, teachers and nonprofits.
SAReads Field Trip to the San Antonio Book Festival
SAReads families enjoyed a full day of literary activities at the San Antonio Book Festival. Donations from the annual Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive provided a free book by a festival author to each SAReads child.
Special thanks to Miss Fiesta San Antonio Carla Juarez for supporting SAReads at the festival and throughout Fiesta San Antonio. Thank you PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for presenting a $1,000 donation to SAReads at the book festival!
End-of-School Celebration Draws Record Attendance
Over 450 SAReads students and family members attended a special end-of-school celebration at the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s new Family Adventure Garden. Each student received a Certificate of Achievement in Reading from SAReads for participating in the tutoring program. Special thanks to SABOT, professional storyteller Miss Anastasia from The Twig Bookstore, and The AM Project for making this the most memorable celebration yet! SAReads is grateful to the Harris & Eliza Kempner Fund for underwriting this special event.
The SAReads Team
Please join us in welcoming Barbie Walther (second from right) and Michelle Herrera (far left). Program Coordinator Barbie Walther has 23 years of experience in education, including eleven years as a classroom teacher, eight years as an After School Coordinator and several years impacting education as a Homebound Teacher and Educational Consultant. Program Assistant Michelle Herrera’s background includes teaching K-5 computer skills and training teachers on computer-based programs as well as supervising after school programs.
SAReads Children's Book Drive Now Through August 15th
Clear off your bookshelves and donate children’s books to the SAReads Book Bank at one of over 50 book collection locations across greater San Antonio. Look out for our book collection barrels at all San Antonio Public Library branches, all Firstmark Credit Union locations, all area YMCAs, Whole Foods Market (Blanco Rd location), The Twig Book Shop and Dead Tree Books. Share our event on Facebook! View book drop off locations on this Google Map.
SAReads at the Doseum
Visit the DoSeum’s Dream Tomorrow Today exhibit! Children are invited to reimagine the future through interactive activities, including ways to get involved in SAReads and summer reading.
Love for SAReads!
(From left to right) Special thanks to the Public Theater of San Antonio, Feliz Modern, Flight Safety International and our Children's Book Drive partners for your love and support of SAReads!