This month, we’d like to highlight what makes our Read Naturally GATE (Group and Tutoring Edition) program so successful. Instead of telling you ourselves, we decided to ask an expert out in the field. GATE enthusiast Bev Andrews is a passionate and experienced educator, currently working as a Title I reading specialist in Peoria, AZ. She is an author of Discovering What Works for Struggling Readers, published by the International Reading Association, and she has taught graduate classes in reading for Grand Canyon University. Bev was eager to share her thoughts on GATE. Here’s what she had to say:

How long have you been using GATE?

GATE has been on top of my teacher tool bag for reading intervention for 12 years. I have been so excited about my students’ successes that I have shared this program and helped many, many peers support student growth by becoming incredible GATE teachers.

Why did you begin using GATE?

I wanted to provide additional reading instruction to a group of students in my first-grade classroom. Like most classrooms, mine included students not quite reaching grade-level expectations but also not qualifying for additional support from the reading specialist. I looked for something that was sequential, reflected a research-base, interesting, and could be used with a small group of students. GATE surpassed those requirements!

Describe your GATE student population.

My GATE students have ranged from kindergartners to third graders in a pull-out resource classroom. Most of these students needed support in phonics and word automaticity, but I have also used GATE with some early readers needing additional support in comprehension.

What are your favorite things about GATE?

I love the teacher-friendly format, the logical sequence of skills, the high-interest texts, and the balance of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Teacher-friendly components include lesson scripts for consistent instruction by teachers, para-professionals, or trained volunteers and master copies of student worksheets.

What sets GATE apart from other programs?

The inclusion of each of the “big five ideas” of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension) in every GATE lesson is what sets this above other intervention programs. The fact that GATE is designed to offer this instruction to a group of up to five students is also unique and beneficial. GATE is also very affordable!

Are there any features or "hidden gems" about this program you'd like to highlight?

A “hidden gem” of GATE is the development of word automaticity using both sight recognition and phonics skills. These skills are then applied immediately in meaningful text. The text is all nonfiction, so the students become “experts” on bear cubs or vets or goat kids or planes.

Can you give us an example of how GATE has helped your students?

Students celebrated their learning when a classroom discussion addressed a topic that some students had completed a GATE story about, and they could share their expertise! In addition, these students were surprised and proud that they had made nearly two years’ growth on the Slosson Word List assessment during GATE participation. I observed improvement in their confidence as readers and their knowledge of basic world information, all because of this wonderful program. This kind of success is very typical of the GATE students I’ve worked with over the years.

Thank you, Bev, for taking the time to share your thoughts on GATE with our readers. Click here to learn more about this program.