Written by: Frank Bedolla, Matheson Afterschool Program Coordinator
During a Matheson Jr. High school team meeting earlier this year, I noticed that the special education faculty expressed how there is a need for students to read at grade level. The Afterschool Program took it upon ourselves to hire three awesome teachers: Ms. Rindlisbacher, Ms. Arner, and Mr. Brecht who initiated a reading program for students to work with a formalized reading curriculum called Higher Steps. The teachers came up with the name Raising Opportunity for the Advancement of Reading (ROAR).
During ROAR students practice reading and analyzing text at their individual instructional reading level, as well as answer comprehension questions about the stories they read. Students are timed on select passages every session to check reading fluency progress which is charted every week. Students also work on word analysis, pronunciation, and spelling. So far, the ROAR program has had five sessions that last for one hour each. Anywhere from four to seven students participate in ROAR every week.
Teachers are warming up to the idea to support the ROAR program, especially school administration, teachers, and parents. Teachers who have students that regularly attend the ROAR program have noticed a great improvement regarding their reading skills which ultimately makes homework easier to do.
According to Early Warning Confirmed: A Research Update on Third-Grade Reading, by The Annie Casey Foundation, there is a link between failure to read proficiently by the end of third grade, ongoing academic difficulties in school, failure to graduate high school on time, and chances of succeeding economically later in life. Teachers also note that students need to read fluently and comprehend on at least a 6th grade level in order to keep up with grade level work and to increase their chances of high school graduation.
I am really pleased that as an Afterschool Program we could play a significant role in assisting in this academic core endeavor. We believe we are on the right path and are excited to get more students enrolled in ROAR.