Third-grade teacher Mary Karoub works with student Jeda Baber at Garfield Elementary School in Wyandotte. “The leveled book way” allows students to read successfully at their own level and allows teachers to individualize instruction to meet each student’s needs.
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – The first year of a reading program has added to the book collections at Garfield Elementary School in an effort to improve the skills of both strong and struggling readers.
Helping children read successfully at their own level provides a sense of achievement that benefits all readers, educators say, while also letting teachers tailor programs to individual student needs.
Garfield teachers last year introduced “The Leveled Book Way” to students after a school improvement team determined that a more effective way was needed to increase reading achievement among students.
Though skill levels still are being determined, teachers say the program has added more books to the in-school leveled library; a take-home leveled book collection also is being built.
Reading is taught in small groups at a child’s individual reading level. First, students are tested individually by teachers to see at what level they are reading.
Students then read out loud in small groups at the child’s individual reading level. The step is based on research that shows reading out loud has a significant impact on word recognition, fluency and comprehension across a range of grade levels.
It took a team effort among the staff to successfully launch leveled reading. Secretaries processed purchase orders, and maintenance staff put up book shelves and arranged tables and chairs into reading study group stations.
Leveling or sorting books into reading levels presented another challenge. Principal Cindy Wright said Title I aides worked diligently to sort books by their reading level.
In addition to sorting the books on hand, the reading material had to be sorted by level on bookshelves, on shelves and in cupboards – anywhere books would fit.
“We have a lot of books at Garfield but they had to be leveled,” Wright said. “Teachers donated books. We used Scholastic bonus points and were able to purchase some to give us enough to start.
“Our leveled library now houses 6,780 books.”
Soon parent information about the reading program, with ideas for home, will be posted on the school Web site.
“As a principal, I am extremely proud of the staff at Garfield for their dedication and hard work,” Wright said. “We believe at Garfield that ‘Together everyone achieves more.’”