Read Naturally students at Whittier Elementary

Lisa Lawrence, Reading Intervention Coordinator at Whittier Elementary in California, faced a unique set of challenges at her school. Nearly all of the students come from Spanish-speaking households with limited resources. Most of these students were reading below grade level in English, and few were achieving fluency or comprehension.

This past fall, Whittier’s principal recommended Read Naturally for the school’s RTI program. Lisa did some research and determined that a combination of Read Live, Read Naturally ME, and GATE would work well with the students. Since November, these programs have been used with about 120 students during school hours and about 80 students in an after-school tutoring setting. The results thus far have been remarkable. Lisa was eager to share them.

“We see all students improve in fluency,” Lisa reports. “We are most excited about seeing the positive change in the attitude that students have towards reading. They start to see themselves differently, both as a reader and as a student. It’s awesome to watch them develop into independent successful readers with confidence.”

In February, one of the district’s assessment technicians conducted an analysis comparing Whittier’s second- and third-grade Read Naturally students with the rest of the second- and third-grade students in the school. The Read Naturally students had made about five months’ more progress than their peers. In addition, Lisa shared individual assessment results with us. It was not uncommon to see gains of over 50 wcpm in just a few months of using Read Naturally programs. Many students who were reading significantly below grade level in the fall were reading at grade level by winter.

Whittier’s stellar data is thanks to the hard work of motivated students and a dedicated team of educators. Lisa, three teacher’s aides, Erica Rosas, Angela Henderson, and Alvin Salinas, and another teacher, Laurie Rooney, all use the Read Live, ME, and GATE materials simultaneously. Lisa emphasizes that this collaborative system has helped maximize the program’s success.

What’s more, the students are enjoying themselves as they learn. “The students love Read Naturally!” says Lisa. “They like the challenge of beating the score of their last practiced read, and they notice the change in their reading fluency. They love coming to the RTI room!”

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your school’s success story with us. We love learning how Read Naturally programs make a positive difference in the lives of students.

Do you have a Read Naturally success story to share? We want to hear it! Email us at with the subject line “success story,” and we may feature it in an upcoming blog post.