We need to talk about second grade.

  1. We need to get real about data. Good data lets us know where students are, what they do well, and what challenges they face. It provides insights and allows us to work towards better outcomes. Teacher delivered running-records are time-consuming and fraught with opportunities for human error. Assessments such as Lexplore provide a rapid Dyslexia screening and automated running record in under five minutes, allowing teachers to target their instruction to a child’s needs with high accuracy.
  2. We need to build fluency. Yes, comprehension matters­ — a lot, but prioritizing comprehension over fluency in the younger grades is risky. It’s possible for a 7-year-old with weak fluency to comprehend an age-appropriate book. It’s rare for a 15-year-old with poor fluency to do the same. Microsoft Reading Progress is a free tool available within Office 365 (also free) that provides fluency practice based on leveled or teacher-selected texts.
  3. We need to recognize that an app is not an intervention. Yes, some children can learn to read on a basic level by using any readily available reading practice apps. However, children two or more years behind need expert and highly responsive intervention. Several apps are close to delivering this, but none have managed yet.
  4. We need to be flexible but rigorous. The next year will not be business as usual. Grade 2 and 3 teachers may find that many of their students need to review Kindergarten concepts, while others may be ready for Grade 5 content. We need to provide additional time for scheduled intervention and enrichment within the school day. We also need to ensure that all adults in the school are equipped to support this initiative.
  5. We need to provide teachers with resources and training. A Grade 2 or 3 teacher will need guidance to engage in the explicit teaching of reading. In some schools, they could “buddy up” with Kindergarten and Grade 1 teachers to share tips and tools. Other schools will need to invest in programs such as Corrective Reading, CKLA, or Fundations to allow teachers to focus on curriculum adaptation rather than curriculum generation.

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Co-founder @MiraiPartners.

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Christine Nasserghodsi

Christine Nasserghodsi

Co-founder @MiraiPartners.

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