Title

Literacy for Life: Daily Reading Effectively Promotes Success (REPS)

Location

Verelst

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

Our presentation will outline a quick, inexpensive literacy initiative for alternative education or at-risk students. Many students in alternative education programs lack basic literacy skills which negatively impact academic performance, behavior, attendance, and graduation. We have implemented a literacy initiative that engages every student, every day, in every course. The initiative has enhanced our students’ ability to read and comprehend information, augmented their knowledge of content-specific vocabulary and concepts, and improved their test-taking skills. Our students have also exhibited increased self-confidence and are more cognizant of the integral role literacy plays in every walk of life.

Brief Program Description

Literacy is at the heart of basic education and essential for eradicating poverty, achieving equality, and ensuring that all students have the opportunity for lifelong success. Administrators, instructional coaches, and teachers will be fascinated by the simple, but effective strategy for improving the literacy skills of at-risk students through authentic, highly-engaging daily “REPS” activities in every class.

Summary

One of the most pressing issues in the United States today is the literacy crisis that is plaguing the educational system and threatening the growth of our society. The students in the alternative education program are no exception. Many of our students have significant gaps in learning; especially literacy skills, due to chronic absenteeism, multiple suspensions, and/or incarceration. This often results in academic failure, poor testing performance, increased behavioral issues and decreased graduation rates. We have implemented a literacy initiative, Daily Reading Effectively Promotes Success (REPS) that provides all students with the opportunity to participate in relevant daily literacy activities in every block during the school day. Every teacher begins class with a literacy activity that is content-related and relevant to real world experiences. The activities emphasize reading comprehension skills, content-specific concepts, and simple test-taking strategies. The initiative is school-wide and promotes continuity from class to class by encouraging all teachers to use the same daily procedures, pertinent real-world activities, and grading criteria. The daily “REPS” assignments are brief, highly engaging, and relevant to all students. Our presentation will outline our simple, but extremely effective model for fostering literacy proficiency, motivating at-risk students, enhancing content knowledge, and improving test-taking skills. Conference attendees will learn how to implement a school-wide literacy program without sacrificing instructional time, money, or resources. They will also be trained how to design highly-engaging literacy activities for all content areas. In addition, a step-by-step guide for program design and resource development, along with examples of successful “REPS” activities will be provided. Attendees will be able to use the information gained to train coworkers and create a literacy plan to meet their specific school needs. The daily “REPS” literacy initiative can be easily implemented in any school setting, but it is especially effective for students who are motivated by understanding how literacy is pertinent to their real lives.

Evidence

Research suggests that the key to improving the performance of at-risk students is authentic teaching and learning opportunities that allow students to experience success and build confidence (Markert, 2009). Other researchers, such as Newman and Wehlage (1995), concur with this and add that teaching involving relevant real world experiences help students to think, develop in-depth understanding, and apply academic learning to realistic problems. Gallager (2009) asserts that cultural literacy is critical for the development of productive citizens in a democratic society. Therefore, she is an advocate of instruction that utilizes the types of reading and materials that are used in the real world. Studies also show that academic achievement is associated with engagement in reading and real world-related activities; especially among at-risk students. The alternative education program at John J. Wright has seen significant positive results since the implementation of the literacy initiative. Students are more involved and engaged in classroom activities, test scores have improved greatly and attendance is much better. Our on-time graduation rate has increased and students have a more positive outlook on literacy, education, and future goals. The initiative has even reduced discipline referrals and classroom disruptions. The literacy initiative, Reading Effectively Promotes Success (REPS), uses basic concepts to edify our students and produce individuals with the literacy skills and confidence necessary to become productive, well-educated, self-assured citizens in a global society.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Presenter 1: Terecia Gill, Ed. S. has over 25 years public school experience. She has been a teacher, assistant principal, program supervisor, and is currently the principal at a multifaceted alternative learning center located in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Ms. Gill is an innovative, assertive, well structured leader able to motivate students, teachers, parents, and colleagues.

Presenter 2: Karen Washington has 23 years teaching experience in both middle and high school settings working with diverse populations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, an Educational Specialist Degree in Reading Education, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Leadership. Mrs. Washington currently serves as an English Teacher and Literacy Coordinator in an alternative education program in Spotsylvania, VA.

Keyword Descriptors

at-risk, alternative education, literacy, real-world

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-3-2015 2:45 PM

End Date

3-3-2015 4:00 PM

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Mar 3rd, 2:45 PM Mar 3rd, 4:00 PM

Literacy for Life: Daily Reading Effectively Promotes Success (REPS)

Verelst

Literacy is at the heart of basic education and essential for eradicating poverty, achieving equality, and ensuring that all students have the opportunity for lifelong success. Administrators, instructional coaches, and teachers will be fascinated by the simple, but effective strategy for improving the literacy skills of at-risk students through authentic, highly-engaging daily “REPS” activities in every class.