Early Grade Reading Achievement Pilot Project in Calhoun County
In 2011, United Way of Battle Creek began a conversation with the Calhoun Intermediate School District (CISD) to identify how they could improve third grade reading achievement. Third grade is considered a pivotal year because until third grade, children are learning how to read. After third grade, children are reading to learn, and need reading to be successful in all of their other subjects.
The Verona Early Grade Reading Achievement Pilot Project emerged from a commitment by United Way, Calhoun Intermediate School District, and Battle Creek Public Schools to improve third grade reading to increase high school graduation rates. Informed by community conversations and based on best practice and data, the initiative includes teacher professional development and in-classroom coaching, data driven instruction, volunteer reading buddies, family support and engagement, a summer slide component, and community connections to offer additional family supports.
The statistic after year one was pretty amazing: kindergarten students went from 5% reading at proficient or higher at the end of school year of 2011 to 71% reading at proficient or higher at the end of school year 2012. Incredibly, over half of the children were reading not just at proficient but at advanced – higher than grade level.
The numbers are pretty extraordinary, but it’s not really about numbers – it’s about what the numbers mean. This means that families are bringing books into their homes and are feeling more confident about their child’s future. It means that the lowest performing school in Calhoun County are beginning to turn around. It means that the children that were at risk for dropping out because they could not read a textbook are tremendously more likely to graduate; their future will be different.
The Verona Early Grade Reading Achievement Pilot Project is a powerful testimony to show the change that can happen when we Live United.
Past Community In Action Articles:
AmeriCorps Members and Community Resource Navigators from Washtenaw County make their TV debut!
2012 Spirit of Michigan Awards
Check-off For United Way
Varsity Letter in Community Service
Spirit of Michigan Award
Calling for 2-1-1 Press Conference
United Way STARS
United Way Tax Check Off
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United Way of Jackson County Lives United
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Jason Richardson - Saginaw