Delhi Unified focuses on ensuring students read at grade level
The Delhi Unified School District is making a full-force push to ensure students are reading at grade level. The district’s goal is to have 90 to 100 percent of its students reading at grade level by the time they reach third grade.
Adolfo Melara, district superintendent, said the last time a reading assessment was done two years ago, more than 50 percent of the students were reading at least one year or more below their grade level.
“This is not unique to Delhi but in Delhi we’ve decided to put an end to this,” Melara said. “That’s a big challenge. We are concentrating on kindergarten and first graders this year, to make sure we provide students with explicit, multi-sensory instruction to teach them.”
In education up to third grade students are learning how to read. After third grade students need to read to learn, Melara explained. Consultants from Pennsylvania-based Step by Step Learning have been training Delhi administrators, principals, as well as teachers in the science of teaching reading, in classroom settings. This training even includes the superintendent, he pointed out.
“It’s concerning that the greatest country the world has known has come to accept a large percentage of students not reading as an accepted reality. I’m very proud of our teachers’ dedication to the project and their resilience to learn new skills,” Melara said.
In most school districts reading levels in the early grades are 20 to 40 percent below expectations.
He said the district plans to bring these stepped-up instructional resources next year to the second and third grade levels.
“There’s nothing more important than teaching children how to read. A child that can read has access to the whole world. With adequate, appropriate teaching and support every child can learn how to read,” Melara said.
During the LCAP process where parents and community members interact with school officials about what they would like to see in the local educational system, improving reading skills has been identified as a need for a number of years.