Harrison Hills reading program updated

CADIZ The focus was on reading during the past Harrison Hills City School Board meeting.

Harrison Jr/Sr High School Principal Brent Ripley gave a report on the progress of the Scholastic Reading Inventory program as has been applied to seven-through-ninth graders. Ripley noted that this is a district-wide program. The program has been in effect at Ripley’s level for the past five years. Ripley noted an improvement since this inception.

“We’ve seen growth,” he said. “If they finish work early, they’ll read.”

He added that teachers also provide and encourage the reading of text related to the subject.

The SRI is a research-based computer-adaptive reading comprehension assessment that measures reading ability and text difficulty. The lexiles are given after a student takes a computer-generated assessment which increases in difficulty over time as the text increases in complexity.

Ripley added that they are considering expanding the program through 11th-grade next year.

“Good readers are needed in the workforce. With college and career readiness standards, they’ve increased that level,” he said, adding that a 1385 lexile level is required by SAT tests. Currently, high school career-readiness lexiles are 1150.

Common core levels for second-to-third graders will be set at 420-820, fourth-to-fifth graders will be 740-1010. Sixth-to-eighth graders will be 925-1185. Ninth-to-tenth grade will be 1050-1335. Eleventh and onward will be 1185-1385.

Currently, 13 seventh graders are at the new common core level. A total of 29 students exceed the score, with 24 of them exceeding a 1100 lexile and the top reader at a 1390 lexile. In the eighth grade, 17 are at the 950 lexile, with 70 students exceeding the 1000 lexile level. A total of 32 exceed 1200 and the top reader stands at 1447.

Among ninth graders 18 are at the 1000 level, with 59 exceeding 1100, 35 exceeding 1250 and the top reader at 1480.

Ripley said the district will focus on helping those students who are at risk of not passing their OAA’s and OGTs.

He noted there are currently more than 100,000 books and 80 million articles with a lexile assigned.

Ripley described various incentives in encouraging reading among students.

“We really try to push the kids just to be reading all year long,” Ripley said. “We’re noticing there is a correlation between how well a kid reads and how well they score on their tests. Not just the OAAs, but if you’re a good reader you can be more likely to score on your SATs because you understand what the question is asking. Good readers are needed everywhere. They’re needed in the workforce.”

He pointed out the need for comprehensive reading in both trade schools and higher education.

“You’ve got to be a good reader. It’s a skill that everyone needs to have,” he said. “We looked at the correlation between kids that don’t read well and how well they achieved and kids that do read well and how well they achieved.”

Ripley also outlined the ways in which parents can assist their children in improving their reading. These include reading to a child at a young age through elementary, encouraging increased reading ability by having a child read 15-20 minutes each night and discussing the substance of the text. Parents can also demonstrate modeling behavior by reading.

More information for parents can be found at www.scholastic.com/parents/

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com