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Alabama Reading Initiative News

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Reading, Reading, Reading!!!!

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As of the 2006/2007 school year at North Sand Mountain, we have become an ARI school. ARI stands for “Alabama Reading Initiative”. ARI began with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.  ARI involves grades K-3, and is slowly beginning to involve 4th-6th grades also. The goal of an ARI school is to greatly improve reading instruction, and for 100% of our students to be reading on grade level.


To become an ARI school, all of our K-3 teachers, including principals, PE coaches, & special education teachers, went to a week-long training session over the summer at Hollywood Elementary School. During this session, we learned researched-based methods to better instruct our students in reading. Not only did we learn these, but also were able to see and do the lessons with real children. We have taken back what we were taught and have started implementing these methods in our classrooms. We have found that it takes much more work and planning, but we are excited because we can see the results of our hard work! Our students are learning and our DIBELS scores have improved greatly! We still continue to have monthly meetings and training looking specifically at student data and learning new lessons to target specific mistakes that students often make. This takes such hard work on both the part of the teacher and the student.


Our teaching methods mostly include very small group instruction. We teach our students in groups of 3-5. Then, they go to centers, or stations, for extra practice with what they've learned. During a 90 minute reading block, students have 4-5 centers they rotate through. Some centers include oral reading, partner reading, listening to books on tape, making words, practicing sight words, practicing comprehension, and instruction at the teacher’s table.  The centers are fun ways for the students to learn, and they love them! Our teachers are bothered daily with the question, “When can we start centers?”  Our students are blooming in reading, and we know they will continue to do so!