By Sarrah Peters
Oscar Adams Elementary Schools is proud to announce that over the last year, its students have been reading a ton.
Even students in kindergarten have been reading books and taking Accelerated Reading (AR) tests. Through the tests taken, a school can track the number of books and words read by the students. So far this school year, kindergarten through fifth grade students have read 31,970 books, which is 40,288,206 words.
Kindergarteners, who are just beginning to learn how to read, accumulated 270 AR points. First graders accumulated 3,372 AR points; second graders accumulated 2,227 points; third graders got 3,685 points; and fourth graders got 2,776 points. Fifth grade accumulated the most points with 4,322 AR points.
Some students were recognized as high scorers in the school. Oswaldo Tomas Manuel, a 5th grader with 307.80 points, has the most points in the school. First grader Bryson Thomas-Russell scored 286 points; fourth grader Willany Sayles scored 258.6 points; fifth grader Isaac Tomas scored 236.8 points; first grader Willay Sayles scored 225.9 points; first grader Aurielle Glover scored 220.9 points; and fifth grader Alexi Francisco scored 204.4 points.
Despite Adams Elementary School being a Comprehensive Support School, meaning it has been targeted for additional support due to low test scores, Kim Gladden, the school’s reading coach, wants the community to know that there are great things happening at the school.
“As of right now, our AR participation is at 87 percent, as compared to the district, which is at about 84 percent,” said Gladden. “So, you can tell right there that we’ve got a lot of participation going on with our AR program. When things are based just on test scores, that can be all anyone sees, but we are doing a lot.”
As a reading coach, Gladden’s job involves helping teachers teach reading skills and monitors the students’ reading progress. When Gladden began teaching in Gadsden City Schools, she was hired as a kindergartener teacher, but felt unprepared to teach reading.
“I had not taught reading,” said Gladden “I was teaching older kids at the time. I was hired to teach kindergarten, and I had no clue where to start with reading. So, I had a reading coach come in, and it was the best thing ever.”
But Gladden doesn’t take credit for the school’s high AR participation. She attributes some of the school’s success to the introduction of the MyOn reading program. MyOn allows students to access books online at home. For students without at-home internet, books can be downloaded with internet access to be read without internet at a later time.
Gladden also pointed to many reading programs and activities the school and teachers have promoted. There are AR point clubs. The high scoring point earners receive incentives for their achievements. However, most of the activities are focused on reading to or with the students. The school has been inviting volunteers to read to the students. Older students can be reading buddies for younger students, an activity the older students seem to enjoy according to Gladden. The teachers have been utilizing Facebook, using it to post videos of books being read so students can be read to even when they are not at school.
Additional events have been held as well, including a recent “Camp Out and Read Night” at the school. Some teachers have created their own events, including a “Battle of the Books” and a “Starbooks Book Tasting,” where students drank chocolate milk, ate cookies and tested out new books.
“We want people to know that we’ve got some good things going on at Adams,” said Gladden. “When things are based just on test scores, that can be all anyone sees, but they don’t see everything that we are doing.”