Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Principal Notes: Universal Screen

As a mentioned at Back to School Night early this fall we will continue to use a universal screen at Pine Glen School. The universal screen we are using is iReady (http://www.i-ready.com/product.asp). Last week on Thursday staff were trained in not only using the iReady diagnostic screen but the math and literacy intervention tools that come with it as well.

The purpose of doing a diagnostic universal screen is to assess individual student‘s skills across multiple grade levels. I often think of this like taking 303 student’s temperatures at the same time.

We use a universal screen for the reason that reading for meaning is the most complex of tasks we do. It is not just a natural process. If a child never had lessons in talking, he or she will still learn to talk from exposure to other adults and children in particular. However, if a child just picked up a book and saw others reading he or she wouldn’t learn.

What makes reading so challenging is that it is based on six specific skills working in conjunction with each other. Those skills areas are the building blocks of successful reading.The six skill areas are comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonics, phonemic awareness, and oral language.

(Graphic courtesy of Sally Grimes.)

Typically if a student is having difficulty with reading it can be the result of a need for additional exposure to more instruction in one or more of these skill areas. These skill areas have a direct link to particular parts of the brain.

Language-Processing Areas of the Brain

(Graphic courtesy of Sally Grimes.)

An added benefit of iReady is that is comes with an instructional intervention tool that works to address the areas that need additional instruction and progress monitors the student’s performance.

We will be administering the iReady Diagnostic Screen in the next couple of weeks. Pine Glen is so fortunate to have such great products like iReady. I wish to thank the School Committee and the people of Burlington for their continued support in providing top quality assessment tools, instructional materials, and the technology to utilize these tools.

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