An innovative approach launched last year to increase the number of B.C. children who are engaged, competent readers is seeing great success, Education Minister Peter Fassbender announced today.
Launched under the BC Education Plan, Changing Results for Young Readers is a provincewide approach that focuses on teacher collaboration, in-class support and current research on how to foster reading success for Kindergarten to Grade 3 students. Provincial facilitators supported district Early Reading Teams to share current research and collaborate with teachers on how to improve reading for all children. As their repertoire of strategies grew, teachers reported they felt more confident and competent in their abilities to engage students in reading.
A key strategy was to focus on the student's strengths to increase confidence. Special attention was given to what sparked the child's interest and increase student choice in selecting books. In addition, effort was made to avoid isolating the readers who struggle with reading from their peers and role models. Instead, resource teachers were encouraged to work with classroom teachers and students directly in the classroom.
The program's first year involved 66 Early Reading Learning Teams in 59 school districts, over 600 educators and more than 9,000 students. Teachers were asked at the beginning of the 2012/13 school year to identify one student who, they felt, was struggling with reading.
More than 500 children were identified. Many of these students were at least a year behind their peers and some could recognize no more than a few letters of the alphabet. Focusing on these students, teachers developed individual case studies documenting literacy strategies, teaching practice and their students' progress.
By then end of the school year, 419 individual case studies were analyzed. They indicated that 94 per cent of the struggling readers demonstrated improvement in reading with understanding. Nearly two-thirds demonstrated improvement in their ability to read at grade level; 45 per cent were able to narrow the gap with their peers and another 20 per cent were able to overcome and eliminate the gap altogether.
Participating teachers also reported widespread benefits across their classrooms. Fully 86 per cent of the 9,000 students were reading at grade level by the end of the school year. School districts are so impressed by the success of CR4YR, some have adapted the approach for their middle and secondary schools.
Today, the first year success of the program was celebrated by Education Minister Peter Fassbender, Superintendent of Reading Maureen Dockendorf, Surrey school district officials and a Grade 2 class at Mary J. Shannon Elementary school.
Minister of Education Peter Fassbender:
"Students in British Columbia already rank among the best readers in the world and that is in large measure due to our skilled and dedicated teachers. So it is wonderful to see teachers come together as professionals, to review the latest research and learn new strategies, and to share with each other what is working. It is this passion for quality teaching that will ensure all B.C. children become the strong, confident readers they need to be, to succeed in life."
B.C.'s Superintendent of Reading Maureen Dockendorf:
"It's been an amazing first year. It is wonderful to work with so many teachers who are excited to collaborate with their colleagues and passionate about helping all students become more confident and competent readers. "
- The Changing Results for Young Readers' case studies form a database that will benefit teachers and readers for years to come and build on B.C.'s strong foundation of student literacy.
- In 2011, B.C.'s Grade 4 students ranked among the world's top age-group readers according to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, an international assessment of reading literacy among young students.
Since fall 2012, Changing Results for Young Readers has involved:
- 9000 students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 classrooms across the province.
- 600 educators collaborating with district early reading learning teams.
- 66 early reading learning teams in 59 school districts.
- 420 in-depth case studies focused on young learners who struggled with reading.
B.C.'s Grade 4 students among world's top readers:http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2012/12/bcs-grade-4-students-among-worlds-top-readers.html
B.C.'s Education Plan: www.bcedplan.ca
Changing Results for Young Readers: http://youngreaders.ca/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education