FLINT TWP. — Public school superintendents from six eastern Michigan counties are working collaboratively to strengthen literacy skills of their elementary students, according to a press release. Schools around the United States celebrate “March is Reading Month.” In Region 5, superintendents are saying that every month is reading month and are pressing forward with a literacy initiative.
“Superintendents from Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, St. Clair and Tuscola counties have joined a statewide literacy initiative called the Reading Now Network, modeled on a similar collaboration among west Michigan schools”, said Eric Lieske, Superintendent of Davison Community Schools in Genesee County. Lieske also is president of Region 5 of the Michigan Association of School Administrators. Region 5 comprises the six counties in eastern Michigan participating in this initiative.
Research supports that no skill better predicts a child’s future success than early literacy. The Reading Now Network’s goal echoes that of both State Superintendent of Instruction Brian Whiston and Governor Rick Snyder’s Literacy Commission: a minimum of 80 percent of 3rd graders in all demographic groups will read proficiently at grade level, and that intervention strategies be put in place for the 2o percent who require a bit of additional support.
The Reading Now Network doesn’t require specific textbooks, lesson plans or curricula. Instead, it calls for an emphasis on literacy in the early years that includes having all classrooms set aside dedicated time for reading, follow research-based essential practices in literacy learning, and develop a school-wide reading culture.
A key element of the Reading Now Network is identifying “bright spot” schools/classrooms within the region, whose students are outperforming classrooms in schools with similar demographic profiles. In Genesee County, the first school to be visited and studied was Rankin Elementary on November 7, 2017.
Those “bright spot” schools are studied by educators from across the region. Their strengths are identified and incorporated into classrooms elsewhere in the region. In this way, schools across the region can collaborate and learn from each other.
The Reading Now Network is committed to ensuring that all students have access to classroom libraries well-stocked with reading materials designed to appeal to children of all skill levels.
Carman-Ainsworth is working to ensure that each K-3 teacher is fully implementing the 10 Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy., said Superintendent Eddie Kindle. The goal is to provide training, tools and support to help all children become better readers and writers.