Hearing about the successful implementation of Being a Reader in Howard County Public Schools over the last several years, Resurrection-St. Paul’s academic coordinator, Allison Wist, reached out to me to learn more about it.
After learning of Being a Reader’s underlying principles and components, teachers and school leaders at Resurrection-St. Paul enthusiastically embraced implementation during the 2021–2022 school year. I gladly became their “phone-a-friend,” responding to their questions and partnering to assure success.
And what a successful partnership it has been! Hearing about the impact of Being a Reader on Resurrection-St. Paul’s students and the support of our educative curriculum for their teachers affirms my belief that when implemented with fidelity Being a Reader opens the door to literacy for our youngest students.
—Elizabeth W. English, PhD, Manager of Educational Partnerships in Maryland
“IT WORKS!” That is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies, Back to the Future from the 1980s. Nowadays, I find myself saying those two words on a regular basis—all about the Being a Reader program.
My name is Allison Wist. I am the Academic Coordinator for Resurrection-St. Paul School, a Catholic school in Howard County, Maryland. My job is to help the Kindergarten–2nd grade teachers in my school to plan and implement our curriculum.
This school year, we adopted the Being a Reader program in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. At first, my teachers were hesitant: a little nervous, a little scared at the thought of something new.
But then the materials started to arrive. Teachers loved how comprehensive, organized, and easy-to-follow the Being a Reader program appeared to be! After our teachers attended several virtual individualized professional learning sessions, the students arrived for the school year and implementation began.
Before long, the classrooms came alive with reading activities. Teachers and children are now actively engaged in small-group instruction and learning. Behind the scenes, the teachers are loving the ease of the program.
“Teachers and children are now actively engaged in small-group instruction and learning. Behind the scenes, the teachers are loving the ease of the program. And even more than that? The impact! Students of different abilities and from all backgrounds are able to access this program.”
And even more than that? The impact! Students of different abilities and from all backgrounds are able to access this program. The creators have thought of everything: a learning portal, books (both hard copies and digital), poems, word cards, assessments, charts, big books, and so much more.
One of our favorite features is the RTI/MTSS Guidance document found on the incredibly helpful Collaborative Classroom Learning Portal. Many of our students have been in their homes learning remotely for 18 months. We have found many gaps in learning due to these unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances. The differentiation within the Being a Reader small-group instruction is supremely impactful for almost all students; however, there are students who need a little something extra. The RTI/MTSS Guidance document very clearly and explicitly states how teachers and specialists can help these students.
As a bonus, the responsiveness of the Collaborative Classroom team is second to none. If I email a question or request, I usually hear back the same day.
Bottom line: this program WORKS. Early childhood students of today have had an untraditional educational experience to say the least. We have witnessed so much growth in reading over the course of this school year. Some children have been able to progress almost two school years’ worth of growth already.
“We have witnessed so much growth in reading over the course of this school year. Some children have been able to progress almost two school years’ worth of growth already.”
We cannot thank Center for the Collaborative Classroom enough for what Being a Reader has done for our students.
I, too, would personally like to thank [Collaborative Classroom manager of educational partnerships] Elizabeth W. English for being my Being a Reader champion from the very first day.
Without her and the Being a Reader program, there is no way our teachers and students would be achieving all that they are. Thank you all!
Learn more about Being a Reader.