School of the Year

Rapid City Elementary School

Rapid City, MI

2023 Read Live School of the Year Runner-Up

Submitted by Michelle Zamaites, Special Education Teacher

Rapid City Elementary School Rapid City Elementary School was able to purchase Read Live using a grant this year after trying the program last spring. The students have made significant gains in fluency and comprehension, with a huge increase in confidence. Fourth-graders using the program said the following:
"My mom and dad will be so proud of me, I can’t believe I can read these stories."
"I never thought I would be able to read, and I am actually reading stories!" Keep up the great work, Rapid City Elementary!

In her nomination, Michelle wrote:

"This is the first full year that Rapids City Elementary has used Read Live. We were fortunate to try out the program last spring. We saw so much success with this program that we wrote a grant in order to purchase it for the 2022/23 school year. Rapid City Elementary is a 82% poverty district. Rapid City Elementary is a school-wide Title school with 24% Special Education students.

Read Naturally allows me many teachable moments. When students make spelling errors and when reading the word lists, I am able to pinpoint phonemic skills to teach in small groups. When I see one or several students struggling with the same patterns, we meet at the back table for a mini lesson. Even though my students do not love the word lists, they have great satisfaction when they conquer the lists.

When reading the stories I am able to work with students on fluency and voice fluctuation (we have fun reading a few sentences like a robot, then reading like we are having a conversation), then we discuss how much more interesting the story is with voice fluctuations.

Another area of growth that I have seen this school year is comprehension! Students see the value in finishing the story, even after the one minute is up, then answering the comprehension questions, multiple choice and written expression.

Rapid City Elementary’s reading lab consists of 4 to 6 students using Read Live for 30 minutes, three days a week. Our 5th grade teacher uses the independent program, One Minute Reader, within his classroom reading centers. Our after-school SEEDs program also uses Read Live during their scheduled reading time; this has also made a significant impact on our students as readers.

We have seen a respectable amount of reading growth in students that are lower readers, as well as growth in students that are at grade-level readers.

Here are a few quotes from two current 4th graders--one was reading at a 1st grade level and the other was only identifying some Kindergarten sight words last school year when in 3rd grade:

“I never thought I would be able to read, and I am actually reading stories!”

“My mom and dad will be so proud of me, I can’t believe I can read these stories.”

“Even if I don’t finish the story in one minute, I always finish after the timer so I can do my best on the questions.”

Rapid City Elementary’s students are blossoming as confident readers. With the confidence, our students aren’t afraid to try!"

2023 School of the Year


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