A few years ago, some of my colleagues and administrators asked me if I would accept a few Life Skills students as pupils in my READ 180 classes. These students have learning issues that prevent them from being included in classes with their typical peers during the school day. Inclusion in my class would afford them an opportunity to be exposed to reading instruction in a language-rich environment with peers who have average verbal and communication skills. I agreed to accept the students in my classes because I know that the System 44 and READ 180 programs provide exceptional resources for differentiated instruction and that most students benefit from a least restrictive environment when appropriate supports are provided.
One Life Skills student who entered my class three years ago just recently successfully completed the System 44 program! His name is Ryan. Ryan is a ninth-grade student in my middle school READ 180 class. Ryan started the System 44 program in the seventh grade and finally completed it this year in his ninth year. Although a celebration was well-warranted, some educators may be wondering why it took three years for him to finish the program.
There are many variables to consider when determining the length of time required for a student to master the foundational reading. Some factors include:
System 44 is an outstanding program, and when implemented effectively, students who exit the program will indeed have the skills to become successful life-long readers.
In my classroom students cannot exit the program until they demonstrate mastery of the following:
In my class, software completion alone is not an indication of success. Students should be able to demonstrate long-term retention and application of essential literacy skills so that they can continue to grow as proficient readers beyond my class. This year, Ryan succeeded in ALL aspects of the Program, and this is the cause of the celebration of his success! Ryan received a System 44 Certificate, a READ 180 pencil, and a READ 180 Notebook during a ceremony that included a cake that his mother baked. Everyone was a part of his celebration of success.
I work hard to ensure that striving students become competent readers in the shortest amount of time because it can be frustrating for them in a competitive world. It may take more than one school year, but I encourage you to discuss Exit Criteria with your leadership and HMH Professional Service partners. Regardless of when each individual student completes the application, it is ESSENTIAL that we not only celebrate their success, but also share their accomplishments with their parents, other school personnel, and when possible, with the world.
Congratulations Ryan! You have completed the System 44 Program. I now welcome you to READ 180 Universal!