Friday, November 20, 2015

Early Literacy Implementation in the State of Iowa

Early Literacy Implementation (ELI) -- this blog post is my attempt at providing "cliff notes" for what ELI means to us in Iowa schools.  And to families of Iowa students based on what we know today (11/20/2015).  
But, before I go into detail on ELI -- I think it is imperative to think about what we CAN be doing now to help students become better readers.  
  • The Iowa Reading Research Center website has some fantastic resources for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, etc. in helping students be better readers.  One of their resources is a blog which gives quick and easy ideas to implement for reading as families (or neighbors, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, etc.).  
  • Our Benton Community teachers do a fantastic job sharing on their blogs and other communication tools ways to help students.  (If you don't know the link to your Benton Community teacher's blog, let me know, I may be able to help.)
  • Have students read or be read to -- almost anything.  Recipe cards, books, directions for the remote, books, magazines, books, directions for board games, books.  If you don't have books in your home -- our local libraries are a great resource for high quality books (as well as our school libraries).  
  • Reading 20 minutes a night is recommended and any minutes above this is icing on the cake.  
(I borrowed this picture from Andrea Townsley, Instructional Coach for BC.)

So, as we think about where we can have a direct impact on learning to read and reading to learn, the important thing is to note that we CAN make a difference by supporting our students as readers.  And, below I share a few reasons, based on Iowa Law, of why we must support our students as readers.  
Iowa Code section 279.68 and 281--Iowa Administrative Code 62 promote effective evidence-based programming, instruction and assessment practices across schools to support all students to become proficient readers by the end of the third grade. General requirements of Iowa Code section 279.68 and 281--Iowa Administrative Code 62 are listed below. All requirements go into effect immediately and are expected to be implemented no later than August 1, 2014 unless otherwise indicated.
  • Provision of universal screening in reading for students in kindergarten through third grade
  • Progress monitoring for students who exhibit a substantial deficiency in reading
  • Provision of intensive instruction – including 90 minutes daily of scientific, research-based reading instruction - for students who exhibit a substantial deficiency in reading
  • Notice to parents that a student exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading, including strategies the parents can use at home to help the child succeed
  • Notice to parents of such a student’s subsequent progress
  • Provision of an evidence-based summer reading program for students who exhibit a substantial deficiency in reading (Effective May 1, 2017)
  • Retention of any student who is not proficient in reading by the end of the third grade, did not attend the summer reading program, and does not qualify for a good cause exemption from the retention requirement (Effective May 1, 2017)

The purpose of this law is to ensure that all Iowa students are proficient readers and can read at high levels. This law impacts all K-3 grade students in schools within Iowa. At Benton Community, we are using the state funded FAST assessment system as our universal screener for grades K-3 and even though it is not required, we have expanded this assessment system with our grades 4-6th. This way we are able to see progress over times with students using the same assessment. Benton Community K-6 students receive 90 minutes of reading instruction via our Benchmark Literacy curriculum, which meets the state requirement of having research-based reading instruction.

The State of Iowa has determined benchmarks on each of the different assessments within the FAST assessment system. We use aReading and CBM in different grade levels to determine if students meet benchmarks and are then considered proficient or are at-risk of having a substantial deficiency in reading.  

Schools across Iowa, using the FAST assessment, give the assessment 3 times/year to students. If students across the state don't meet the identified benchmark two times in a row, they are identified as being substantially deficient in reading. If they don't meet the benchmark once, they are at-risk of having a substantial deficiency in reading. If a student is deemed at-risk or substantially deficient, we at Benton Community progress monitor these students weekly with the Fast Assessment progress monitoring resources. Other schools may be using a different system other than Fast Assessment, but the requirements remain the same.

Where I think this gets interesting is as of May 1, 2017 the law states students may be retained in 3rd grade if they are not meeting the 3rd grade level benchmarks to show they are proficient.  

By this date (May 1, 2017) if students are deemed to be substantially deficient then the following requirements may be put into place for students:
  • Students may be retained (repeat 3rd grade) or (with other qualifications described here)
  • Students must enroll in and attends an intensive summer reading program for 75 hours of instruction.
    • Students must be in attendance for 90% of the instructional time of the summer reading program.
There are requirements for notification to parents, parent/school contracts and alternative assessment or portfolio reviews. I'll cover those in a later post. For now, if you'd like more detailed information, please see this link:

No comments:

Post a Comment