Reading for Retention

August 2, 2016

For years, research has shown students’ reading skills regress during the summer months. Often, Palmer Home children arrive already behind from years of frequent moves and inconsistent school attendance. Our children can’t afford to get any further behind.

Last year, we opened the Palmer Home School (you can read about it in the Fall 2015 Ledger) where we focus on helping each child improve educationally with one-on-one support. This summer, Pam Abrams, Lead Teacher at Palmer Home School, initiated a summer reading program with the goal of helping students maintain, and even increase reading skills through the summer.

“We had two different programs,” said Abrams. “For our students in K- 6th grade, they came to the school twice a week and were required to check out books.  Their first goal was to read 7 books that were pre-approved by the teacher.  The first couple of weeks, every child exceeded the goal, and most will have read 15 books or more through the summer.  Rewards were given weekly for reaching their goals.”

For the older kids, reading informational texts is very important.  Studies have shown that many people entering the workplace don’t know how to read and interpret an informational text, even though over 90% of reading done by adults is informational. To prepare older Palmer Home children for success in school to work transitions, they focused more on reading informational texts.

“The older kids, 7th through 12th grade, were on a three-tier program in which different objectives were required,” explained Abrams.

Tier I was to read 2 pre-approved books.  Tier II was to read an informational chart and poetry of some type.  Tier III was a mystery book and an information text.  When each tier was completed, the student was required to fill out graphic organizers for each assignment and meet with the teacher before moving on.

Students who finish all three tiers of the upper grade level program will be rewarded with a Luau at the end of the summer. Abrams is anticipating a 100% completion rate.

“In the beginning, I don’t know that many of the kids were interested in doing anything educational through the summer,” said Abrams. “What kid would be? But after one week, the kids came in so excited and couldn’t wait to get their next set of books to read!”

In all, 30 students from the Columbus campus participated in the challenge.  As most area schools resume session this week, the students of Palmer Home are sure to be prepared, thanks to Palmer Home’s investment in the education of these young lives.

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