CTA schools use the Spalding Method as the basis for all instruction in literacy. Research on learning to read tells us that reading is a complex process. Research also tells us that children of all ages need systematic and explicit instruction in the core elements and processes of reading to help them develop and use their skills efficiently and accurately.
The Spalding Method teaches precise speech, legible handwriting, correct spelling, fluent accurate reading and involvement of learning and thinking processes to understand what has been read. Reading instruction is divided into three strands: literary appreciation, text structure, and comprehension—both listening and reading.
The students use the Open Court Reading Program as a resource for literature. In addition, quality children’s literature at a variety of reading levels is used in the classroom for instruction. Accelerated Reader, a self-paced computerized program for checking comprehension, is also available once children are able to read on their on at approximately an end of first grade level.
Accelerated Reader, or AR, is a program that has been commercially developed to help track and guide student reading and understanding. Educators know that to become an excellent reader, one has to really read. AR is a computerized program in use at many CUSD schools including ours. Essentially, students read a book at their own independent reading level. They take a test on computer answering questions about the book.
It is important to note that the goal in AR is to achieve and maintain an average of 90% or better on quizzes. Averaging 85-- 90% indicates that the student understands the key points of the book, and it motivates the student to read more. Research has shown that 30-minutes of daily reading practice and an average of 90% and higher on AR quizzes produces the most significant gains in reading achievement.
On the CTA campuses, students in grades 2—6 STAR test to find their optimal independent reading level. Teachers then establish personal reading goals for the students. Students then work to accomplish a reading goal that is designed to meet their educational needs. The children take a comprehension test on the books they read. This tells us if they are reading “just right” books and can understand what they read.
On the CTA quarterly report card for grades 2—6, you will find your child’s AR goal and his progress towards that goal in percentage terms. In addition, the student’s comprehension mastery will also be reported as a percentage. Below are some websites that you can use to help your child monitor progress towards her reading goal and her level of mastery.
Click here to go to the AR BookFinder website. It will tell you the approximate reading level for the book you have selected.