Home >> A Issues >> Nclbwork >> On A Mission to Read at Rock Hall

Search form

On A Mission to Read at Rock Hall

Many of Rock Hall Elementarys students come from low-income or troubled homes, but they are posting reading scores comparable to schools in wealthier districts. A principal and faculty members well-versed in reading strategies are behind the success. Included: Elements of a successful reading program.

Courtesy of The Achievement Alliance

Rock Hall Elementary in Rock Hall, Maryland, has a difficult population with which to work. Sixty-two percent of the children qualify for the federal free- and reduced-price lunch program, which is another way of saying they are poor. In one of the low-income housing projects they come from, ambulance drivers wont enter without a police escort, according to Bess Engle, the principal of the school. She can tell one tragic story after another about her students -- stories of children exposed to abuse, abandonment and all the uncertainty of poverty in America.

But heres one thing they can be certain of -- they will be taught to read. All but a handful of Rock Halls third graders met or exceeded state reading standards last year, and there is a plan in place to get those few who didnt meet the standards up to standard. Even the child with a documented IQ of 56 has begun -- with careful instruction -- to read.

No one thing is responsible for the results at Rock Hall. It is a combination of things, beginning with enormously skilled reading instruction. Engle herself is a trained reading resource teacher, a position she held for many years before becoming principal at Rock Hall Elementary, and her staff is knowledgeable about reading and the latest research about reading instruction.

At Rock Hall, reading tutors do much more than simply read to children and listen to children read aloud, as important as both those are. They themselves become skilled in developing phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension -- the five elements of good reading identified by the National Reading Panel. And the Rock Hall teachers who teach the fundamentals of reading have availed themselves of sophisticated training.

SOURCE: The Achievement Alliance

To read the full story, see Rock Hall Elementary

Share Your NCLB Strategies

Education World's Working With NCLB feature highlights schools or districts with stories to share about how they are implementing requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. If you have a Working With NCLB story to share, send an e-mail to Ellen Delisio.