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New literacy resource advances student learning

  • Academics
  • Student Success

Every small win on a student’s journey to becoming a great reader is worth celebrating. Riverdale Elementary School, Instructional Coach Jenny Krautler has seen plenty of these victories as this school year has gotten underway.

Fourth grade students are engaging in amazing conversations about their reading units, third graders are learning how to annotate text, and kindergarteners are mastering their lessons. This year, reading instruction at the elementary level looks a little different, thanks to the district’s adoption of a new core reading resource.

“One of the things that we are truly loving about the new resource is that it provides varying entry points for the broad spectrum of learners at Riverdale,” she said. “Our gifted & talented students are so jazzed about the research and inquiry projects built into each unit. Our striving readers are empowered by the opportunity to review a text using the online resource that is read to them. Our multilingual learners are benefiting from the online glossary that provides the perfect visual to support the grade level vocabulary. And all students are finding it easy to engage with the Texts for Close Reading because they can annotate directly on the pages and the topics are so interesting.” 

The adoption of this new core reading resource was the culmination of a years-long process in line with new Colorado Department of Education guidelines to improve literacy instruction across the state. Selecting a new core reading resource is no small task, and it is a critical decision that affects every student in the Five Star District. 

“My greatest hope for students always starts with joy,” Literacy Director Trena Speirs said. “We want students to find joy in and purpose for what they are reading and writing and to feel empowered as learners and collaborators.”

The first step in selecting a new core reading resource was establishing a multi-stakeholder team to thoroughly research and vet each potential resource that was listed on the State’s approved advisory list. This team selected standouts that were aligned to the Five Star District’s core values and could be considered as finalists. From there, families and educators had opportunities to share their feedback before the district made its final selection.

Based on these criteria as well as detailed feedback from parents and teachers, the district selected Benchmark Advance 2022, which is a standards-based reading resource that builds knowledge and skill within and across grade levels. Students have access to grade-level learning with opportunities for teachers to also provide individualized instruction to students based on their skills and needs. 

“Ultimately, we want students to feel engaged in their learning and prepared for each next step in their literacy journey,” Speirs said. “We know that the rich and authentic experiences we intentionally provide for students each day will support them as they interact with increasingly more complex literacy skills and tasks.” 

  • Empower