This year, MLS will be incorporating the “Science of Reading” into our K-12 instruction, which is a body of research that guides the best practices in reading instruction, reading intervention, and early identification of at-risk readers.
Through decades of research and randomized controlled trials of intervention and instructional routines, school districts are now provided with the information needed to gain a deeper understanding of how we learn to read, what skills are involved, how those skills work together, and which parts of the brain are responsible for reading development (“What is the Science of Reading?”).
This K-12 initiative is led by Lisa Spetz, MLS Intervention Specialist. “Madison Local Schools is collaborating with a cohort of Literacy Specialists in our area, as well as the Educational Service Center of the Western Reserve and the Ohio Department of Education, to gain knowledge and skills that will positively impact the literacy system within our district,” explains Ms. Spetz. “We are taking this information to develop a Structured Literacy Program that will meet the needs of all of our students K-12.”
Currently, MLS is in the process of training teachers in LETRS, or the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling. This is a professional development course of study for instructors that provides in-depth knowledge on the most current research regarding what, when, and how language skills can be taught. LETRS defines the best practice in assessing student language development for prevention and intervention, and gives guidance on how to plan and balance work recognition and comprehensive instruction.
“Ms. Spetz will be utilizing the Science of Reading to help staff understand best practices related to the use of Open Court Reading and putting appropriate and timely interventions in place to address student gaps,” says Mr. Baker, North Elementary Principal.
The MLS Structured Literacy Program will be utilized K-12, allowing all students to access the curriculum which aligns with the Ohio state standards. This program will support all learners and efficiently match resources to student needs, including gifted and at-risk students.
Ms. Spetz says, “In the elementary grades, the program will support students in developing the foundational skills needed to access the systems of language underlying literacy. In later grades, the focus shifts to vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension when reading and writing.”
Faculty and staff throughout the district are already being trained in the importance of the Science of Reading so that teachers can start incorporating these strategies into their curriculum.
“Ms. Spetz is a tremendous asset to both staff and students,” states Shannon Kriegmont, South Elementary Principal. “She is leading the district in the hard and important work of using best practices to help all of our students become more successful readers and writers!”
MLS prioritizes the academic and social-emotional success of all of our students and is proud to begin utilizing these strategies and practices within our daily curriculum. In utilizing this compilation of decades of research, MLS is committing to the importance of reading development and comprehension, no matter a student’s age.