Knowing that reading instruction is the foundation for all learning, Clarke County schools provide multiple professional development opportunities for teachers to become high-quality teachers of reading. In 1999, the Clarke County Board of Education began its affiliation with the Alabama Reading Initiative and continues to have a very strong commitment to ensuring that Clarke County students receive the highest quality of reading instruction available.
The Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) is a statewide K-12 initiative managed by the Department of Education. The goal of ARI is to significantly improve reading instruction and ultimately achieve 100% literacy among public school students. The Alabama Reading Initiative training for teachers helps them teach reading in proven and effective ways.
ARI Literacy Demonstration Sites/Reading Coaches
Ann Scogin LEA Reading Coordinator
Gillmore Elementary School/ Wendy Neal
Jackson Intermediate School/ Tenalee Dumas
Jackson Middle School/ Lenette Tarleton (Secondary Coach)
Grove Hill Elementary/ Lisa White
Wilson Hall Middle School/ Lenette Tarleton
Clarke County High School/ Lenette Tarleton
Through ARI, teachers in these schools have received numerous hours of professional development in scientifically-based reading instruction both during the summers and during the school year. These schools also conduct Walk-Throughs, Data Meetings, and Shared Teaching on a regular basis, all with a focus on reading, to ensure that students receive high quality reading instruction. Reading Coaches in each of these schools receive monthly training from ARI through the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). Elementary schools receive support from the ALSDE through regional coaches and regional principal coaches.
All Clarke County Elementary Schools administer the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) test three times per year. It is very important that parents are aware of expectations for students. Refer to http://dibels.uoregon.edu/ for more information.
DIBELS Testing Windows
Beginning Benchmark Testing: September 4 - September 10
Mid-Year Benchmark Testing: January 14-25
End-of-Year Benchmark Testing: April 12 - April 25
Becoming a Reader -- Helping Your Child Become a Reader
Every step a child takes toward learning to read leads to another. Bit by bit, the child builds the knowledge that is necessary for being a reader. Over their first 6 years, most children
- Talk and listen.
- Listen to stories read aloud.
- Pretend to read.
- Learn how to handle books.
- Learn about print and how it works.
- Identify letters by name and shape.
- Identify separate sounds in spoken language.
- Write with scribbles and drawing.
- Connect single letters with the sounds they make.
- Connect what they already know to what they hear read.
- Predict what comes next in stories and poems.
- Connect combinations of letters with sounds.
- Recognize simple words in print.
- Sum up what a story is about.
- Write individual letters of the alphabet.
- Write words.
- Write simple sentences.
- Read simple books.
- Write to communicate.
- Read simple books.
Children can take more than one of these steps at the same time. This list of steps, though, gives you a general idea of how your child will progress toward reading.
Here are some ways to help your child practice reading.
•· Ask your child to read aloud
Ask your child to read aloud to you at bedtime or anytime. Bring a children's book or magazine any time you'll have to wait, such as at a doctor's office or on a bus. Give your child lots of practice reading.
•· Pick books that are not too hard
Help your child choose books that are not too difficult. Your child should be able to figure out most of the words on the page. You want your child to have lots of success with reading. That way, he or she will want to read more. Books that rhyme, that repeat phrases, and that have predictable stories are good for new readers.
•· Encourage your child to "sound out" words
If your child is having trouble figuring out a word, use your finger to point to the first letter in the word. Ask him or her what the letter usually sounds like. This won't always work because some letters have more than one sound. In the long run, though, being able to sound out words is more valuable than being able to use other types of clues to figure out a word (like looking at the pictures or guessing).
•· Gently correct your child
When your child makes a mistake when reading aloud, gently point out the letters he or she overlooked or read incorrectly. Ask questions such as, "Do you remember what sound this letter stands for?" Many beginning readers will guess wildly at a word based on its first letter. Encourage your child to pay attention to all the letters in a word.
•· Be patient
Figuring out new words is hard work! When your child is trying to sound out a new word, give him or her time to do so. It might take a couple of tries.
•· Have your child re-read sentences
When your child has figured out a new word, ask him or her to re-read the sentence the word is in. Often, children are so busy figuring out a word that they'll forget what they've just read.
•· Read, read, and read some more
Encourage your child to re-read favorite books. He or she will probably be able to read the story more quickly and successfully the second or third time. Make reading together a warm and loving time.