District: Together we can prepare scholars for greater success with literacy

Parents can work with children at home on reading.

Federal Way Public Schools is preparing scholars’ readiness for college and the workforce, and a key focus is literacy. Literacy – the ability to read, write, speak and listen – is the baseline for success not only in all school subject areas, but also for advancement in life.

A key milestone in being college and career ready is the ability to read proficiently by third grade. The Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers.

FWPS has committed to all third-graders being proficient readers through Goal 1 of the Strategic Plan: The Early Years. We are taking deliberate steps to ensure this outcome by using specific, high-quality resources and curriculum, and individual literacy plans. In addition, we’re providing tips for parents to help support their child’s reading skills and comprehension. Read on to learn more.

What does “reading proficiently” mean?

Scholars are asked to report on who, what, when, where, why and how from the stories and informational text they read. However, they are also asked to synthesize information across texts and think about how the author structured the text. Some sample questions from the Smarter Balanced Assessment show what third-graders are being asked to do.

Example 1: Which sentence from the passage supports the idea that the Coleman brothers have experience with making maple syrup?

Example 2: Which of these best describes why the author used dialogue in the passage?

Supporting our scholars

Kindergarten through fifth-grade classes are using updated high-quality resources to support literacy achievement of our scholars. Each scholar also has a literacy learning plan. Kindergarten through eighth-grade classes are using the Independent Reading Level Assessment. The IRLA helps teachers identify scholars’ reading needs and set a “power goal.” Each kindergarten through eighth-grade classroom received new books. The books are a collection of high-interest fiction and non-fiction texts across multiple genres preparing scholars for college and career.

Teachers focus on accelerating our scholars’ reading achievements while ensuring they are using high quality materials that support on-grade level literacy work.

How families can help grow their readers

• Every day counts, every scholar matters. Students who maintain good attendance through all years of school achieve grade-level standards at a higher rate.

• Set aside at least 30 minutes per day for reading at home. Research shows that students who read for one hour a day make almost two years of growth in reading.

• Connect with your local King County Library.

— Students get library cards for free.

— Students have access to the online system, including e-books, through the Federal Way student log-in.

• Partner with your child’s teacher to learn more about how you can support your child. Scholar-led conferences are a great time to learn about what your child is learning and areas they need more support. Families can always call the school and make an appointment to speak with their child’s teacher.

• Ask your scholar what they are learning, what books they are interested in, and what they are working on in reading. Encourage your child to be curious about books, and help highlight the joy of being a life-long reader.