Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

Hello Friends!  Surprise, surprise....I am here to write an actual post.
I know it has been a long time. Thanks to my faithful friends who continue to check in on me.  I am doing just fine, just too much to do and too little time.  Something has to give and  recently this little blog is one of those things.  Nothing inspires me more than networking with teachers so I will make the effort to get on here more often. 

Speaking of networking,  I had the awesome opportunity to go to Greenbrier Elementary in Charlottesville City to see the Book Buddies Reading Program in action this past week.  Book Buddies is the brain child of Francine Johnston and Marcia Invernizzi.  These two have contributed so much to the teaching of language arts.  They are the authors of  such books as Words Their Way and the creators of the PALS Program.  I got to hook up with Marcia this past week and observed her tutoring a first grader through the book buddies program. 

The Book Buddies program provides a framework for tutoring that enlists and trains volunteers to provide reading intervention to struggling first graders. Their book outlines the procedures of their framework. 

Front Cover

Greenbrier Elementary is a school with a diverse population of students, 25% of their students speak English as a second language. Yet Greenbrier consistently performs at high levels, having been named a Title 1 Distinguished School for nine consecutive years and has been recognized by the VDOE VIP Awards of Excellence.  

They have named themselves: "The Home of the Reading Stars" and even the secretary answers the phone that way.  They are proud of their accomplishments and should be.  
They set students' reading achievement as a goal over ten years ago and are getting it done. 

Book Buddies may very well be one key to their success.  They have designated a room just for this purpose and have a Book Buddies coordinator who runs the show. 
The volunteer tutors service about 15 first graders, providing one to one tutoring for 45 minutes twice a week.  I got to see it all in action.  

The coordinator is key. She trains the tutors and sets each one up with lesson plans each day. 

Each tutor has a place to work that has been set up with all she needs. 

This is a finely tuned program which focuses in on the individual needs of each student. 

The students who I watched were all engaged and seemed to really love the attention.  The lessons included lots of reading and coaching, word work and plenty of writing. 
 The one to one format is key to the success. 

Each reader has individual goals and is rewarded in different ways when progress is made. 
I was totally impressed with Marcia and her ongoing dedication to this program and to helping these young students become proficient and capable readers. 

"I define founding as having an idea, concept, or vision, taking intentional steps to implement that concept or vision, and working with it and tweaking it until that vision is realized. In this case the idea was that most children who are relatively behind in their early literacy development can catch up if they are identified early and if high quality instructional enhancements are also provided early."

Marcia Invernizzi 
My Sunday's Words for the Week: 
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Book Buddies Programs are being used as part of a reading plan in many schools across Virginia and the country.

Are you working at a Book Buddies school?
Would love to hear from you!