I walk into a Kindergarten writing workshop and multiple students immediately try to get my attention and plead with me to read the books they have written and just published.  As I pull up next to these young writers, I read books about birthday parties, climbing trees, and learning to do new things.  The students are so proud of their hard work and are eager to share their pictures and words. I am proud of them, too!

 

Our Kindergarten students are not the only ones who want to share their learning.  Multiple times this school year I have been lucky enough to spend my lunch time with fifth grade students who have wanted to read and discuss the book Wonder. They enjoyed reading the book so much that they wanted to gather with other people who also read the book to share their thoughts and opinions– nothing was assigned or required, the students did all of this by choice.

 

Most of the adults in our community have many other stories similar to mine about the joy and passion demonstrated on a daily basis by our Lower School students.

 

Students in all grade levels love reading and writing.

 

Every day they engage in meaningful reading and writing experiences for authentic purposes.

 

Students can often be observed actively reading and writing for uninterrupted time periods of 30 minutes or more.

 

They successfully self-select books and writing topics based on their individual areas of strength, areas for growth, and most importantly, their interests and passions.

 

This is all possible because their teachers have intentionally taught them the skills and strategies required to be successful readers and writers at their developmental level.

 

The teachers have enough confidence in their students to release responsibility and give them ownership in this process. Their teachers know how important this level of independence is in order to truly get children invested in being readers and writers.

 

All of this is wonderful anecdotal evidence that our balanced literacy program in Lower School is strong and is preparing students for future success in middle school and beyond.

 

The good news is we have statistical data to further support the countless stories we could share of students experiencing a high level of success here at Ravenscroft.

 

We made a programatic shift to a balanced literacy approach five years ago, and we currently use the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment program to assess the progress our students are making in reading. There are general guidelines that have been established to determine when students are meeting the expected benchmark reading level at different points in the year. These guidelines help us measure our students’ success in reading.

When reviewing our mid-year assessment data for our third and fourth graders who have experienced the benefits of our balanced literacy program for multiple years, we are quite impressed with our students performance (fifth graders do not take the benchmark assessments and are not included in our data).

 

The chart below shows the expected benchmark reading level for each grade level at the midpoint of the year.  It also shows data related to Ravenscroft students’ reading level at the midpoint of this school year.

3rd

4th

Expected benchmark reading level (mid-year)

O

R

Average reading level at Ravenscroft (mid-year)

 P U

% of students at Ravenscroft above expected benchmark reading level (mid-year)

 84% 83%

% of students at Ravenscroft at the expected benchmark reading level (mid-year)

 9% 12%

% of students at Ravenscroft below the expected benchmark reading level (mid-year)

 7% 5%

 

Standardized data that is nationally normed is another measure we can use to show that our students are very successful readers and writers. Our latest CTP IV test scores illustrate just how successful they are when compared to other students across the nation.

Results from 2013 CTP IV standardized tests:

 

Above Average*

Average**

Below Average***

3rd Grade (Verbal Reasoning)

74 %

25%

1%

3rd Grade (Reading Comprehension)

74%

25%

1%

3rd Grade (Writing Concepts and Skills)

70%

29%

1%

3rd Grade (Writing Mechanics)

70%

28%

2%

4th Grade (Verbal Reasoning)

67%

32%

1%

4th Grade (Reading Comprehension)

62%

37%

1%

4th Grade (Writing Concepts and Skills)

70%

30%

0%

4th Grade (Writing Mechanics)

67%

33%

0%

5th Grade (Verbal Reasoning)

79%

21%

0%

5th Grade (Reading Comprehension)

67%

32%

1%

5th Grade (Writing Concepts and Skills)

70%

30%

0%

5th Grade (Writing Mechanics)

73%

27%

0%

 

* percentage of Ravenscroft students who had above average scores in stanines 7,8,9

** percentage of Ravenscroft students who had average scores in stanines 4,5,6

***percentage of Ravenscroft students who had below average scores in stanines 1,2,3

 

National percentile rank of the median scale score of Ravenscroft  students in each grade:

 

Verbal Reasoning

Reading Comprehension

Writing Mechanics

Writing Concepts and Skills

3rd Grade

90%ile

88%ile

90%ile

97%ile

4th Grade

81%ile

79%ile

84%ile

90%ile

5th Grade

90%ile

83%ile

89%ile

85%ile

We are very proud of our students and teachers here at Ravenscroft for their many successes in all aspects of our balanced literacy program.

 

The data looks really good and affirms the work we do in and out of classrooms each day.

 

However, it will continue to be the passion and joy we see in our students and teachers when they read and write that will remind us that all our hard work is worth it!

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