By Wendy Woods & Kathy Gorman
Essential Skills Software has played a vital role in the improved achievement of the Reading Lab students at Webster School. It is the core technology component that provides practice with the strategies necessary for becoming successful readers. Through the data analysis, a marked improvement in the areas of Phonics, Decoding, Vocabulary and Comprehension has been noted. The data reflects increased reading levels for all students across the grade levels. The struggling readers have developed an enthusiasm for reading thanks to Essential Skills Computer Programs.
The successes of the Reading Lab are too numerous to mention. Webster is running a Reading Intervention program that co-ordinates with the district adopted Reading Program. This program truly differentiates the curriculum to meet the needs of all students by using targeted instruction and providing computerized practice with the use of Essential Skills Software. This program services approximately 100 students in kindergarten through sixth grade every day. The concept of "full inclusion" is supported by having Regular Education, RSP and Special Day Class students working side by side. Since the creation of the Reading Lab, Webster's API has continued to climb each year. Webster's score in the first year of implementation was 749, with an increase to 789 the following year and 811 the year after. Last year Webster's API qualified them to apply for the coveted "Distinguished School" award. When the visitation team came to Webster to verify the information contained in their application, they were extremely impressed. At the exit interview, they stated that, "Webster's Reading Lab was the flagship of the school." Webster was honored to receive the "California Distinguished School" award. Because Webster has created such a successful program, word has spread throughout the Valley and beyond. The Reading Lab has been visited by over 118 people, including Superintendents, District Psychologists, Project Coordinators, Programs Coordinators, Curriculum Directors, Principals, Teachers, Paraprofessionals and Leadership Teams that want to see a high quality, successful Intervention Model.