Settling In

The beginning of the year is when bulletin boards are fresh, books are organized, shelves are dusted, and rooms are ready to welcome children. This was the bulletin board outside my “new” office as I took over the “Reading Resource” position. That term “Reading Resource” was one I both coveted and dreaded.

I had left my dream job of being a literacy coach for a rather large elementary to stay home with my children while they were young. As I made my way back to reading, I took a side trip in Kindergarten for a couple years. I was excited to be back in the land of reading, but I wasn’t sure about the title “Reading Resource.” To me, “resource room” meant special education and in no way was I qualified to be apart of their lofty and talented group. However, I soon found that I was a resource; a resource not only to my students, but to their parents, as well as the teachers at my school.

Most of the children I worked with were identified as “not meeting expectations” either on standardized tests, classroom assessments, running records or just classroom observations. This wasn’t new to me as I served as a reading interventionist before. Closely monitoring student progress according to a set of standards ended up being a particular strength of mine. As well as, through assessment, identifying students’ strengths and areas of growth in reading. I knew how to take a student from where they came to me to make that “adequate yearly growth”, if not the desired “accelerated growth.”

I quickly found, however, that to truly accelerate growth, the partnership between me, the classroom teacher, and the parents was truly vital. That “resource” title that I eyed skeptically before blossomed into bridges between classroom, home, and my services (push-in or pull-out depending on student need and teacher preference). This empty bulletin board became full with brochures on how parents can support their child at home with comprehension, fluency, and book choice. There was space for bookmarks for students to grab to help remind them of strategies we worked on in groups and class. And, all this was available to teachers, as well, so they could support all their students in becoming life-long readers.

What do you do to support student reading at home? To encourage parents to read with their children? To foster communication with other colleagues on campus?

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