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From theory to practice: See the science of reading in action in Ogden, Utah

Student with backpack smiling outside school

Ogden City Schools Snapshot:

  • 13 elementary schools
  • 35 miles north of of Salt Lake City in the heart of Weber County
  • 57% economically disadvantaged with primarily Title I schools
  • 18% ELL

Situated in the “pocket” of Weber County, Utah, Ogden City School District serves an inner-city population rich with multicultural diversity. When the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) passed a mandated bill addressing low reading scores, and the approach educators use to teach reading, school leaders went in search of a solution that would help all students learn to read more effectively. They chose several products from the One95™ Literacy Ecosystem.

“Everyone is excited for students to start the school year more equipped for grade level work.”

Natalie Dussol

District Elementary Reading Specialist

Gearing up for student gains.

According to Natalie Dussol, elementary reading specialist at the district level, while there wasn’t an immediate spike in scores, student progress in this first year of implementation was clear and evident. “This was our learning year,” Natalie said. “Teachers needed some time to learn how to use the products and how to best help their students get up to speed. Everyone is excited for students to start the school year more equipped for grade level work.”

Teachers at Ogden have been most enthusiastic about the ease of using the interconnected products. The school, which committed to Tier 2 Intervention, has leaned on the connection between the 95 Phonological Awareness Screener for Intervention™ (PASI™), the 95 Phonics Screener for Intervention™ (PSI™), and the 95 Phonics Lesson Library™ (PLL™).

“Specifically,” Dussol emphasized, “teachers really love the way they can use 95 Percent Group’s solutions in tandem with Acadience Pathways to really dig into what skills their students need most.”  A clear strength of the PSI and PASI screeners is their direct interaction with the Phonics Lesson Library. Each screener evaluates on a series of skills which connect to a specific lesson in the Phonics Lesson Library. With this knowledge, teachers can directly support each students’ needs based on what they already know and what skills still need to be developed. Another important outcome is the reduced preparation time for teachers who already have a lot on their plates.

Coaching is key: both teachers and students reap the benefits

95 Percent Group’s onsite coaching model provided a safe learning space for both teachers and their students. Dussol noted that although there were some teachers that weren’t sure about the coaching program, their buy-in was quick after seeing how successful their students felt.

Many teachers stated how happy they were that they were finally able to use what they had learned in LETRS® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling), feeling like they had a clear application for the science of reading theory they had been studying.

Dussol added, “There has been a definite increase in self efficacy in our teachers—they finally feel like they are getting through all the lessons successfully and instructing on the skills necessary for their students to have a solid foundation in reading.”

Student Spotlight

The onsite coaching model not only benefits educators with instruction, but can be the missing piece for students who have had difficulty learning to read.

A great example of this came out of a 95 Percent Group coaching session at Liberty Elementary School in Ogden, when a third-grade student named Noah improved his reading achievement drastically after participating in the session.

During a coaching demonstration of Skill 10.1 (a closed-syllable skill) Noah served in the role of teaching assistant, an approach which motivated him to engage in his own learning in a new way. This experience transformed how he and his teachers have chosen to approach his instruction.

Following the demonstration, Noah’s intervention was shifted to the multi-syllable level. The combined effect of the new intervention strategy and Noah’s participation had a significant impact on his ownership and his progress: he swiftly advanced three levels in 95 Phonics Lesson Library.

Highlighting the importance of appropriate intervention and student agency in developing strong reading skills, Noah showed his teachers that when he was more involved in his own learning, it stimulated growth in a new way.

Learn More

Are you interested in learning about how you can bring an effective and efficient structured literacy approach, grounded in the science of reading, to your school or district? Contact us today.

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