Wayne County students in kindergarten through eighth grade are benefitting from a new program being implemented called Reading Horizons. The software and teacher-led reading instruction prepare students with the strategies and skills they need to become proficient readers.
Wayne County teachers spent part of the summer learning how to use this phonics-based program in their classrooms. They embraced the program because the skills students learn help drastically decrease reading, spelling, and pronunciation errors while improving reading fluency and comprehension. Teachers are using multisensory lessons to help every child understand the structure of English and help struggling students (including those with dyslexia) to build the brain connections needed to make sense of reading. The software program compliments the teachers’ efforts allowing students to learn at their own pace. In addition, teachers are provided the data they need to customize lesson material to individual student needs.
Developing reading skills begins at a very young age. The staff at Walker Early Learning Center are very aware of the fact that they begin the process and lay the initial foundation. So, the kindergarten teachers have readily adapted this plan at their level.
Teachers are open to fine-tuning instruction if it means they will get better results for their students. Through coaching and collaboration within the district, the leadership team realized that the current reading instruction was lacking in the area of phonics, which is one of the five major components of reading.
“So throughout the year, last year that team met and looked at many different programs that claimed to be explicit and intentional in its instruction of phonics,” explained Walker Early Learning Center Curriculum Coach Micah Hicks. “We came to a consensus that Reading Horizons would meet our needs.”
Reading Horizon Coaches came to the local campus and provided training for K-8 teachers and have followed up during this school year to provide assistance. They have observed classroom teachers implementation of this program this semester and have even attended a Family Literacy Night at Walker Early Learning Center to share the program with parents.
At a recent parent-teacher conference at Monticello Elementary, the company provided a PowerPoint to educate parents on the new program, according to Curriculum Coach Panesia Humble. Informational sessions were scheduled and the company provided resources about the program for family sharing.
“Reading Horizons is a new program bought by the district that is positively impacting students’ reading success,” said Humble.
Teachers are well versed in phonetic skills, decoding skills, decoding words of any length, murmur diphthongs, and digraphs, which are all part of the program. The school’s responsibility is to provide high-quality curriculum and instruction in an effective, supportive, and safe learning environment that enables the students to meet Kentucky’s Academic Standards. Teachers go over nine-week standards checklists during parent-teacher conferences to make sure students are gaining skills in specific itemized areas of reading, for example.
Creating confident readers is important for learning across the board. The components of reading should be explicitly taught by the teacher, systematically planned and organized, and sequenced in a fashion that moves from simple to complex.
Trainers told the staff that they need to be a team in order for the program to work 100 percent and that has certainly been the case this semester.
New Horizon Training held for Elementary Teachers
Walker Early Learning Center teachers and Bell Elementary teachers participated in the workshop last summer.
Reading Horizons Trainer Heather Price traveled to Monticello prior to the start of school to teach elementary teachers how the program works and why it has been successful.
Bell Elementary Teachers Jessica Hancock, Bobbie Barrier, and Nell Boils at the workshop
Trainer Heather Price, Kindergarten Teacher Beth Corder, and Principal Angela Ballinger
Bell Elementary Teachers Mindy Bell, Jennifer Sexton, and Amy East looked over information about the program.
Middle School New Horizon Training held this past summer
New Horizons Coach Sandy Hoffman shared detailed information about the new reading strategy.
Teachers took notes from the booklet describing New Horizon's techniques.
WCMS Teachers Juanelle Smith, George Coffey, and Angela Stinson discussed decoding skills.
New Horizons Consultant Sandy Hoffman showed WCMS Teachers Leah Wheat, Maria Miller and Shane Taylor learn how to help children hear sounds when reading and spelling words.
Monticello Elementary Teacher Julie Pyles was amongst teachers learning specifics of the phonetic skills.
Monticello Elementary Parent Teacher Conferences feature information about the New Horizons Program currently being implemented
Monticello Elementary Teacher Shannon Corder sharing information with a parent
Cherish Jones with her boys sixth grader Riley Jones and third grader Evan Jones after attending a parent teacher conference at Monticello Elementary.