Rochester Elementary Schools Implement New Literacy Program

Created: 11/23/2013 11:46 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

It's a known fact that most kids watch more television daily, compared to time spent reading a book. The Rochester Public School district is making sure their students make time to read - both at school and at home.

Action 100 is a literacy program that is now implemented - to some degree - in all of Rochester’s Elementary schools. Reading is a fundamental skill that takes time to learn, and for Ella and Gabi Burchill, that skill is practiced every night.

"They're expected to read at least two steps, and a step is 15 minutes, so they're reading at least a half hour at home every night,” said Pamela Burchill.

Ella and Gabi go to Riverside Central Elementary in Rochester, just one school that implements Action 100 into its curriculum.

"Teaching reading is really a diagnostic art. It's no longer where we can just have a whole group lesson or even a small group lesson and expect that that's going to be enough for every child,” said Jacque Peterson, Principal at Riverside Central.

Principal Jacque Peterson says the reality is that not all students were reading at grade level. Now with Action 100, the classroom format is individualized. Students read books at their own level and they're asked to read an hour a day, 30 minutes at school and 30 minutes at home.

"Our teachers are constantly assessing kids, conferencing with our kids to find out what is their reading level, what skills are they missing to move to the next level,” said Peterson.

With each 100 step milestone, which is equivalent to 25 hours of reading, comes a reward. Action 100 has proven effective at Riverside Central, where almost all of their students are now reading at grade level.

Pamela Burchill says there has been some mixed reactions about the program, "There is a learning curve with it and there is a time investment from parents,” she said.  

But she says it's all well worth it, "Having this be such a core focus is going to be positive in many other areas of their learning,” said Burchill.

About half of the Rochester Public Elementary Schools take full advantage of this new literacy program, this year the rest began a lighter version of Action 100.

Reading is a fundamental skill and teaching it can be tricky for teachers and administrators. Action 100 seems to be meeting the needs of students and helping schools to help kids advance to at least their reading to grade level.