New Richmond schools implement new reading programIn an effort to meet the state’s new reading standards, New Richmond has embraced a new reading program and hired three reading coaches to help implement it.
By: By Jackie Grumish, New Richmond News
In an effort to meet the state’s new reading standards, New Richmond has embraced a new reading program and hired three reading coaches to help implement it.
Jessica Ferguson, director of curriculum and instruction for the district, said the district chose to move forward with “Good Habits, Great Readers” because of its balanced literary approach.
“Without literacy skills it affects all students,” Ferguson said.
To help implement the program, the district hired three literacy coaches — Lindsay Jacobs, kindergarten through sixth grade; Amy Fiege, third through fifth grade; and Amy Almendinger, sixth through 12th grade.
The coaches were needed for on-site support for the teachers, Ferguson said.
Ferguson said the need for two coaches at the elementary level is simply because of the sheer volume of students and classes.
“Ideally we’d have a literacy coach at each building,” she said. “The new expectations are more rigorous and we need the resources to support that learning.”
The coaches spend time at a different building each day and work on a schedule so that at least one coach is in each school building every day.
“(Good Habits, Great Readers) is so different with how instruction looks in the classroom,” she said.
At the elementary level there is a lot more small-group learning, said Jacobs.
For example, while one small group works with the teacher, the other students are tasked with reading to themselves, reading to each other, writing or another literary-based activities.
“It takes a couple weeks for students to build up that stamina,” she said.
Ferguson said it’s actually worked really well so far because it gives the student a choice.
“Our younger students are now engaged happily in their learning,” she said.
At the high school level, literature has been brought into each classroom, regardless of the subject.
“Literacy is not incorporated in everything like it is at the elementary level,” Ferguson said. “How does literacy look in the world of physical education?”
Almendinger said most of her time is spent answering questions and helping teachers with lesson plans designed around literacy.
For example, she said technical education students might be tasked with writing directions on how to change a car’s oil.
“Car repair manuals are read very differently than a novel,” she said.
For the foods students, lessons might include writing recipe reviews or lessons on how to properly read a recipe.
“As a district we’re very excited for this initiative,” Ferguson said. “I’m very thankful to the school board for their forward thinking.”
Almendinger, Fiege and Jacobs were sought out to fill the positions of literacy coach because of their experience with the instructional model, Ferguson said. Fiege and Jacobs are full-time literacy coaches and Almendinger, who is still teaching a couple classes at New Richmond High School, was hired as a .73 literacy coach.