School launches reading success program

BALDWIN — During the Baldwin Community Schools Board of Education meeting, Joanie Wiersma, literaray specialist for the school, presented information about the new Reading Success Program.

The Reading Success Program is in compliance with the Third-Grade Reading Law, a state law requiring students in Michigan to be proficient at reading by third-grade.

Wiersma was hired as a literacy coach and specialist at the school to advance literacy with particular focus on kindergarten through third-grades.

"I am passionate about the Reading Success Program," Wiersma said. "The program will help students improve reading skills and comply with the Third-Grade Reading Law. The law provides an opportunity for Baldwin Community Schools to reaffirm their commitment to foster growth in literacy. State and national assessments show attention is needed with literacy."

The law requires children who do not become proficient in reading by the end of third-grade to repeat the third-grade. The current first graders will be the first students the law will apply to when they reach third-grade, according to Wiersma.

Wiersma explained her initiatives with literacy coaching.

"As a literary coach I will provide ongoing support by co-teaching, peer observing other teachers and engage in monthly parent literacy workshops to give parents resources and training to extend literacy at home," Wiersma said. "The program also provides evidence-based intervention to help with targeted needs, instruction and enrichment for students.

"Short-term goals for the Reading Success Program is encouraging parents to participate in the program; collaborating with Project Focus after school program; and further teachers' instruction skills in teaching literacy. Long term goals will be to foster family engagement to help sustain this literacy movement, seek community partnership and form high-performing teacher teams. The ultimate goal is to improve reading skills."

Teachers completed a four-day training for the Reading Success Program and are enthusiastic about moving forward with it, Wiersma added.

Also during the meeting, it was reported 299 students are currently enrolled in the elementary. There are 152 students enrolled in junior high and 121 in senior high.