Literacy is not just an academic skill, it is a life skill.  Supporting students in reaching critical reading milestones is critical at the elementary level.  During the k-4 grades, children are learning to read so that during grades 5 – 12 they can read to learn.

The Hamilton Southeastern School district supports 12 elementary schools representing more than 8,000 kindergarten to fourth grade students.  Due to explosive growth and limited funds, each elementary school developed separate and disconnected approaches to assessing literacy.   This has resulted in a fractured system where students, parents, and teachers are unable to speak a common literacy language.   A disjointed system can also present barriers to student achievement and faculty professional development.

While a unified approach to literacy has been a long held goal of elementary teachers and principals, it has received additional attention due to recent redistricting.

The Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System seamlessly links literacy assessment to instruction.  This comprehensive and individualized system is utilized to identify current reading levels as well as student progress along a gradient.  It can be used to address reading plateaus at all levels, but is especially effective with struggling or discouraged readers.  Specifically this system allows for:

  • Determination of students’ independent and instructional reading levels.
  • Determination of reading placement levels and group students for reading instruction.
  • Selection of texts that will be productive for student’s instruction.
  • Assessment of teaching outcomes.
  • Identification of students who need intervention.
  • Documentation of student progress across a school year and across grade levels.

Best standard of practice would place Fountas and Pinnell benchmarking kits in each elementary classroom at a cost of $119,250.  Though this is currently cost prohibitive, the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation has set a goal of ensuring that one literacy benchmarking kit is available for each grade at each of the 12 elementary schools.  To achieve this goal, HSSF needs to raise $15,975.

Additionally, HSSF has committed to providing professional development to support teacher training at each school.

Additional information available at www.heinemann.com/fountasandpinnell.

Do you want to fund a Fountas and Pinnell kit for your school?  Contact Freedom Kolb today or donate now!