Impacting Reading Proficiency

January 19, 2022, Stacy Hurst

Impacting Reading Proficiency

The word impact has various meanings, but the one best fitting for why we, as educators, do what we do is to powerfully affect or influence someone or something.

impact definition

As educators, we are interested in positively impacting students’ lives (present and future), their families’ lives, and our communities. We know one of the best indicators to improve the trajectory for our K–3 students is reading proficiency. When students are proficient readers by the end of third grade, their opportunities to learn and engage in classrooms increase significantly.

Our country has been tracking reading proficiency for decades. These statistics come to life for us as we are keenly reminded of them every day in our classrooms: 64 percent of students are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade, and 76 percent of those students will never catch up. This represents over 1.7 million third-grade students every year. Recent studies show these numbers will likely increase due to the pandemic. The reasons include, but are not limited to, unfinished learning, a decline in kindergarten reading readiness, and social-emotional conditions for both educators and students.

As educators, we feel these numbers at our core because they represent students in our lives today. We have witnessed students’ excitement as they read independently for the first time and become confident and proficient readers. The fact that there are students who cannot experience excitement or confidence from reading troubles us immensely. The inability to read well limits how our students will live, work, and serve their families and communities in the future.

Collectively, we can have a powerful influence on these statistics and, most importantly, on the lives of the students they represent.

Embracing the Research and Science of Reading

At Reading Horizons, where reading momentum begins, we value and recognize the positive impact the science of reading has had and will continue to have on reading instruction and proficiency. Much is being done today to help ensure students receive instruction aligned with what is known about how the brain learns to read. Many states have new legislation requiring that the science of reading be reflected in the curriculum. In addition, an increasing number of preservice teachers are learning the science of reading in their colleges of education, and funding has been made available for in-service teachers to receive professional development focused on the research and how to apply it in their classrooms. They learn about things like The Simple View of Reading, Scarborough’s Reading Rope, and Ehri’s Phases of Word Reading.

If we want reading proficiency to increase, we need to support the implementation of research-based reading instruction in every K–3 classroom. Research has been conclusive that explicit phonics instruction is an essential component of reading for all students, especially striving readers. Empowering educators with training and materials that are based in the science of reading will help improve third-grade reading proficiency.

As a team, we walk shoulder to shoulder with educators to help ensure students are reading proficiently by the end of third grade. We meet teachers in their knowledge of how the brain learns to read and honor their experience applying the science of reading in their classrooms. We provide valuable support as they work to increase their instructional momentum and efficacy.

Our approachable and uncomplicated instructional method was developed by a knowledgeable, Orton-Gillingham trained educator in the heart of Title 1 classrooms near Chicago. The method has always aligned with the science of reading, and we are dedicated to continuing that tradition. To improve our products, we stay up to date on what research reveals about how the brain learns to read, professional-learning offerings, and educator support in ways that will benefit everyone invested in increasing reading proficiency for all students.

We help students build reading momentum by focusing our curriculum on the components in the bottom strand of Scarborough’s Reading Rope. We provide teachers with the knowledge and instructional tools necessary to successfully teach students to recognize words accurately and automatically, creating a solid foundation for our students to have the ability to read to learn in or outside of school.

Scarborough Rope 061621

Answering the Effectiveness Challenge

Reading Horizons continues to invest and improve our comprehensive and foundational program to ensure teachers have a systematic and practical approach to build student reading proficiency.

Reading Horizons has impacted more than 50,000 K–3 classrooms and counting as we provide students with a strong foundation in decoding and comprehension skills.

  • Students can communicate effectively through reading, writing, and language expression.
  • Students become more confident readers, enjoy learning, and can benefit from exploring any topic they are curious about.
  • Students have a more equitable learning experience and feel valued, capable, and prepared, gaining the momentum they need to push forward and be challenged.
  • Teachers are confident in their instructional practices and have the resources they need to support all of their students in
  • Teachers have the necessary knowledge and support they need so they can be more effective and responsive to students’ needs.

Teachers have a more equitable teaching experience and feel valued, capable, prepared, and have the momentum to make instructional decisions to help ensure all of their students are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

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