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H-F High shifts to new approach for reading instruction

Homewood-Flossmoor High School will continue implementing a shift from a traditional course-based reading intervention approach to a service delivery model.

The District 233 Board of Education gave its blessing to the new program at its Dec. 14 regular meeting after the plan was brought forward by the board’s Planning Committee.

Curriculum and Instruction Director Jennifer Hester told the board students sometimes have difficulty transferring skills they acquire in reading courses to content courses such as biology or social studies. The new system attempts to address the problem by integrating reading service into content area courses.

Currently, the reading curriculum includes 328 students in 24 sections of eight courses that focus on reading fluency, writing, vocabulary and comprehension skills, according to a report provided to the board by Lauren Freeman, Reading Department chair.

The new system would shift reading instruction into content area courses, and would provide three tiers of service, depending on student needs. The first tier is reading instruction as part of the content area course. The second tier would add small group instruction, and the third tier would provide individual assistance.

Hester said the new system is designed not only to help students apply reading skills as they develop but also will increase opportunities for students in the tier 2 and 3 to take elective courses.

“It will allow students who have traditionally been placed in reading courses to enroll in more electives, which aligns with our equity work,” she said. “We don’t want to take away opportunities from students because we need to support them and accelerate them in another area.”

Board member Michelle Hoereth asked Hester whether and how parents would be included in the process.

“How much information will parents have that this is happening with their child? Will there be opportunities for them to be a partner in their kid’s progress?” she said.

Hester assured her that communication with parents was part of the plan.

Superintendent Von Mansfield said the new system is a work in progress.

“There’s a lot more work that we’re still going to have to put into it,” he said.

Development of the new system began as a pilot project in August. It will continue to ramp up in the spring, with full implementation in the 2022-23 school year.

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