Kansas Reading Roadmap aimed to improve K-3 student literacy at 3 Wellington schools

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — A new federal grant has given three Wellington USD 353 Title 1 elementary schools, Kennedy, Lincoln and Washington, a chance to offer students a new no cost academic after-school program.

All of the Kansas Reading Roadmap (KRR) programs are offered at no cost for students and their families. The three components of the programs are the three after-school programs, which are referred to as “academies,” LIFE (Literacy Integrated Family Engagement) Program, and KRR Summer Academy Program. The KRR is made possible by funding from the Kansas Department for Children and Families, with technical support from the Kansas State Department of Education.

KRR is a K-3 literacy program whose mission statement reads “providing individualized Instruction and interventions to meet the needs of all children. Parents, teachers, schools and community members work together toward a common set of goals.”

Wellington USD 353 started three KRR after-school academies: Kennedy, Lincoln , and Washington Elementary schools which run 3:30-5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The program began on Monday, Feb. 27 and will run through Thursday, May 18. The program targets students in grades K-3 by teaching reading interventions and strategies which help improve their reading skills using a fun, hands-on approach.

The LIFE program will meet for eight Thursdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. There were 13 families selected to be in the first LIFE group and will follow through a program including a sit-down family meal, reading activities, interactive games, and prizes during each session. This family engagement program will begin again this fall. The graduation of the families selected will be held Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wellington High School auditorium.

According to the KRR, third grade reading scores are a strong predictor of the future academic success of a student. Once students begin transitioning from learning to read, to reading to learn, their literacy skills are essential. KRR says that early and effective interventions with struggling readers can improve academic performance and increase graduation rates.

Research has shown that some children don’t learn the underlying sounds and symbols necessary to become fluent readers as quickly as others. Kansas Reading Roadmap has already helped more than 11,000 students in 50 Kansas schools learn to read by providing that extra support that some students need to be successful. What’s most important is that each student’s support is aligned with their individual school day instruction and data.

Kansas Reading Roadmap teams up with schools who are committed to providing high-quality teaching through the Kansas Multi-Tiered System of Supports, or MTSS. By using Kansas MTSS, it helps schools identify every students’ unique learning needs. The KRR offers those children afterschool, family engagement learning opportunities and summer programs. Children who participate in KRR get individualized out-of-school lessons which match what their teachers say they need to be academically successful. Participants will improve their reading skills, fluency, vocabulary, and listening comprehension, while enjoying a healthy snack, nutrition education and physical activity. Students who participate spend time working with hands-on activities, stories, songs, poems and educational games to create an exciting learning environment.

The new KRR  Summer Academy Program will begin on Monday, June 5th and end on Friday, June 30th. It will run from 8:00am to 2:00pm Monday- Friday and will include math, science, technology, and engineering in addition to the reading interventions and Healthy Kids component which is a daily physical activity session.

“The KRR afterschool Academies and the LIFE program are off and running. These programs are an excellent supplement to the dailyschool instruction and a valuable resource for the students and their families. The students are eager to attend and have fun while learning and improving their reading skills using a hands-on, interactive curriculum,” said Dr. Amy O’Connor, KRR Program Coordinator.

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