WCSD recognized for emphasis on literacy

Photo submitted to the Times Observer Pictured from left to right are: Medina Reynolds, instructional coach and reading specialist, Erin Eighmy, IU 5 educational consultant in literacy, training and consultation, Anita Archer, educational consultant, author, nationally known for her expertise in explicit instruction, design and delivery of instruction and literacy instruction, Rhonda Decker, WCSD director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, Anna Peterson, reading specialist and Pam Striker, reading specialist.

The Warren County School District has emphasized building a strong early literacy foundation in the primary grades. PaTTAN (Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network) recognized the data-driven model the school district has established for implementing changes to K-2 ELA in partnership with IU5 (Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5). The network requested that a team present at the state level PaTTAN Literacy Symposium in June, 2018.

Rhonda Decker, Erin Eighmy, Medina Reynolds, Pamela Striker and Anna Peterson presented “Driving District Change,” an overview of the K-2 ELA framework and results brought about from these changes. The district’s model included explicit phonics instruction through Fundations, as well as, the Heggerty curriculum which focuses on phonemic awareness.

The school district has been partnering with early childhood providers in the county to build a strong foundation of early learning skills. Title I funding has supported the purchase of curriculum materials that are aligned with the district programs for the early childhood agencies.

Professional development and curriculum materials were provided by the district’s Title program, which included the Fundations explicit phonics curriculum. The purpose was to provide consistency for the students entering kindergarten.

According to David Kilpatrick in 2015, “Every point in a child’s development of word-level reading is substantially affected by phonological awareness skills, from learning letter names all the way up to efficiently adding new, multisyllabic words to the sight vocabulary.”

Last year the district began implementing the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Curriculum in the primary grades to help strengthen early literacy skills and provide a strong foundation for the youngest readers.

At the upcoming meeting on January 15, 2019 with early childhood providers, the Warren County School District’s Title program will again be providing professional development, as well as, Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Curriculum materials to the early childhood agencies.

The next meeting with the early childhood providers will be on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 3:30 p.m. in the library at Warren Area Elementary Center.