By Megan Alley
During its regular meeting on June 19, the New Richmond Exempted Village School District Board of Education approved the adoption of a new comprehensive reading program for students in kindergarten through third grade.
The Open Court Reading program is an all inclusive reading, writing and language arts curriculum, according to the meeting agenda.
“With an explicit, systematic approach to teaching, learning is exciting and engaging for all students,” read the agenda. “In addition, instructional routines are taught and modeled, establishing predictable patterns for students so they know what is expected of them and how to perform on their own.”
The Open Court reading program will replace the school district’s core reading program, which is “the reason that 25 percent of the students in grades first through third are not on grade level,” according to the agenda. “The Open Court reading program addresses the core instructional weaknesses and fills the gap.”
Through the Open Court reading program, officials hope to provide “engaging features” that the school district needs in a reading program, such as instruction in the five key areas of reading, listed as alphabetic principal, phonemic segmentations, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary, differentiated instruction in every lesson, a strong inquiry/higher-order thinking strand and a strong writing strand.
The instructional sequence in Open Court Reading program is research-validated and research-based, according to the agenda, which also read, “Open Court Reading schools achieved 50 to 75 percent higher reading gains than non-Open Court Reading schools. The program made the biggest difference in schools with concentrations of low socioeconomic status students. When compared to the other programs considered, Open Court had the strongest phonics program that was intentional in its implementation.”
The Open Court reading program was launched as a pilot program in the school district last year, according to Tim DuFau, board of education member.
“We heard good teacher feedback, and that’s all I need to hear, is that teachers like it,” he said.
“Providing all students in New Richmond Schools with aligned and rigorous
instructional materials is goal one of our strategic plan,” said Superintendent Adam Bird in an email sharing his reasons for recommending the Open Court Reading program.
Bird added, “ We will continue to provide the foundational skills that will lead to all students growing into valuable, employable graduates ready to meet the needs of businesses in Clermont County and beyond.”