Students Improve Reading Scores through D.E.A.R.

UPDATE: Students participating in Takoda Prep’s D.E.A.R. program continue to improve reading scores and grow interest in fiction and non-fiction texts.

Christy Hicks, Takoda Prep Instructor

Back in November, we told you all about our daily reading challenge, Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.). Now, in March, students are still committed to their time spent reading, Lexile readability, and learning new critical reading skills. Over the course of the year, 16 of 23 students who have taken the assessment at least twice have improved their score. We are so proud of the students’ dedication to their readability level. Seven students who have been at Takoda since the beginning of the year have also moved up a percentile rank (which determines if they need urgent reading intervention). For those students who still have some work to do, we are committed to helping them one-on-one to grow as readers and critical thinkers.

Beyond the assessment, students have also spent a great deal of time reading silently. Among several other recommendations for improved reading programs, research shows that students need extended time for literacy, diverse texts, and self-directed learning. Students at Takoda Prep are provided with these integral aspects daily. Even with the weather-related closures our school has faced this quarter, students have still spent over 40 hours reading during our morning D.E.A.R. class since the beginning of February. They have also found themselves reading new texts from our growing classroom library and have requested many more high-interest novels.

Finally, the self-direction of the D.E.A.R. programs allows students of all levels and interests find success in our one-room schoolhouse. Students recommend books to each other, engage in chatter about stories they encounter, and problem-solve challenging texts.

Some of the books Takoda Prep students absolutely love include the Bluford Series (various authors), The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and poetry by Rupi Kuar.