For many of us, reading is as effortless as seeing. We are constantly surrounded by and absorbing text without even thinking about it. Warning signs, advertisements, instructions, text messages - we are inundated by textual information, often without even being aware of it. Many children struggle with skills we take for granted. Learning to read can be a complicated task, and so much later learning depends on the fluency of a student’s literacy skills. Essential Skills offers a wide assortment of reading programs for schools that can help children foster a mastery and enjoyment of reading.
Initially developed to target children who were struggling with basic reading skills, OSTs have recently become more widespread and mainstream. OST stands for Out-of-School-Time, and an OST program can take many forms. They are typically offered as weekly classes, weekend programs, or summer camps. Recently, with the uncertainty of classroom access, many parents and school boards have begun looking to the OST model with all children, not just those who struggle. Essential Skills online reading programs for elementary schools can be easily incorporated into before and after school reading programs, summer school reading programs or even home learning environments. They provide a wide variety of interactive activities to engage and motivate students of all ages in any setting.
OSTs take many forms and serve a wide variety of students, but all effective OSTs will have certain points in common.
- One-on-one tutoring
- High adult: child ratio
- Small group lessons targeting similar goals
- At least 45 hours given to focus on the program
- Use of reading programs for elementary school and older remedial students such as those developed by Essential Skills
Although the original purpose of OSTs was to provide extra scaffolding for students who were not responding well to the mainstream system, the OST model has been found to effectively improve the skills of even successful kids. Out-of-School-Time combined with successful reading programs for elementary school have been found to foster improvement throughout elementary and into early secondary school.
- Primary, preschool, and kindergarten: The focus is on basic building blocks of literacy such as phonics, sound awareness, and letter recognition. Online reading programs for elementary schools will help to pinpoint and correct early areas of weakness.
- Grades 3 – 6: Students will require practice in reading fluency so they can make the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”. Problems at this stage may begin to affect performance in other areas of the curriculum.
- Middle school to early secondary: OSTs will target the higher reasoning skills required to continue education successfully, as well as help to correct any difficulties students may still be having.
Whether or not you are considering an OST program remember that
Essential Skills reading programs for elementary school and older remedial students can be accessed from any internet-connected device, making them a convenient and effective method of accessing out-of-school time reading.