Rockville, CT – a suburban community with rural surroundings
In its ninth year, Rockville Public Library partnered with Skinner Road Elementary School, in Vernon, CT, to make READy for the Grade available to 12 children on site and 2 children online.
Rockville offered 54 hours of on-site programming (9 hours per week for 6 weeks) and 12 hours of virtual programming (1/2-1 hour per week of one-on-one instruction for 4-5 weeks). Onsite, children attended an average of 38.8 hours of programming.
Rockville did not offer family events, but sent home reading activities for families to enjoy with children.
The program provided bus transportation for students, and the instructor delivered materials to the homes of the two children participating virtually.
In addition to highly experienced professionals, Rockville hired a volunteer from the 5th grade class who had taken part in READy for the Grade when she was younger.
100% of Rockville’s READy for the Grade students maintained or improved their reading skills in 2021 (as proven by the F&P reading assessment).
One of three sites to hold in-person instruction in 2021, Rockville adapted to new safety restrictions to serve as many children as possible. Skinner Road Elementary School offered a large classroom with private bathroom. There, children could remain socially distant and join in group activities. Masks were required. Parents could not enter the school because of health restrictions. For the same reason, our independent evaluator couldn’t observe the program in person. The principal of Skinner Road hopes to expand the program in 2022, so future iterations may look similar to the description of operations in 2019, below.
The theme for the session is Volcanoes. After a few minutes of pre-session and check-in activities, the lead instructor calls all the children to the front of the room where three books about volcanoes are displayed. The three books are introduced by a senior intern (who has been with the program a long time), and the instructor. They use a chart to capture what children already know about volcanoes, and they introduce some important vocabulary terms such as dormant, active, eruption and magma.
After the preliminary activities, the instructor reveals the first book, a National Geographic Book on Volcanoes. She has the children inspect the cover – making sure they distinguish this book as non-fiction. She reviews the difference between fiction and non-fiction. She reads one page, finds a big word (dormant) and has the children sound it out, practice saying it, and explains the meaning. This strategy continues as they read through the first book. The second book includes pictures of active volcanoes and the instructor engages the children in conversations about each picture.
After the 2nd book is read, children take turns exploring the four activity stations.
At station 1, children make an Ice Cream volcano – children have the opportunity to follow directions, illustrate “lava” and get a treat in the process.
At station 2, children play with a puppet theater. The children are charged with making up a story, performing it and then as a group identifying the problem, the solution, the characters and the setting in the story. Every child gets a chance to be in the audience and to be a performer. After everyone has participated in a show, the senior intern running the group then reads aloud to the children from the 3rd book about volcanoes (The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes).
At station 3, each student constructs and reads a book about volcanoes that they can take home and share with family members.
Station 4 is located in a small room. There, each child works on a levelled reader, while waiting their turn to practice reading to an adult. When their turn arrives, the child sits in an easy chair and reads aloud to the instructor.
For details, download the independent evaluation of READy for the Grade.
All Kids Need to Read
READy for the Grade serves a diverse population, with programs in rural, suburban, and urban communities. The challenges of living and learning with low income vary by setting. Click the site name for details.