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Waterford Union High School Library: Increasing Achievement in Reading at WUHS

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Current WUHS Reading Practices

WUHS Reading Initiative Proposal

1.  All students can learn at high levels.

2.  We will take collective responsibility to make this a reality.

a. District Goal - WUHS students will attain avg. ACT composite score of 24

b. WUHS students will meet College & Career Readiness Benchmarks 

c. WUHS students will attain Reading Fluency = Increased achievement in other subject areas

d. WUHS students will be exposed to more background knowledge and vocabulary

The Why...Reading Demands of Careers

"Every state in the country, whether or not it has adopted the Common Core State Standards, has added the requirement of “College and Career Ready” to its standards. The shift to include college AND career ready has been both intentional and consequential.   Traditionally, College Prep has been seen as a rigorous educational program. Career ready was seen as a relevant but not necessarily rigorous education experience. College AND career ready needs to be both rigorous and relevant."

The HOW...Suggested practices for incorporating more reading

1.  Use questioning techniques

2. Avid's Writing in the Margins - 6 comprehension strategies

3. Close Reading Strategies

4. 17 Engaging Reading Strategies for High School

5.  Use book clubs, article circles, preview questions, comparison/contrast point of view of 2 texts, chunk longer reads into smaller parts and write one-sentence summaries, slowly build reader stamina...or try these strategies.

What Does the Research Say?

1.  Reading engagement = Literacy achievement

"The study also found a student’s level of reading engagement was more highly correlated with their reading achievement than their socioeconomic status, gender, family structure, or time spent on homework. In fact, students with the lowest socioeconomic background but high reading engagement scored better than students with the highest socioeconomic background but low reading engagement."

2. Self-selected reading engagement = Higher grades in core subjects

"It was theorized that students who engaged in reading self-selected literature for pleasure would average higher grades in English, mathematics, science, and history than their non-reading peers. The authors concluded that students who read for pleasure averaged higher scores than their non-reading counterparts in the subject areas measured."

3.  Increased daily reading time = Increase in vocabulary exposure

"Vocabulary encountered in pleasure reading materials helps to guess meaning of academic texts and the already acquired prior knowledge prepares learners for deep reading"

4.  Daily reading increases fluency, confidence , and stamina

"Far too many of my students tell me year after year that they completed high school courses without reading a single book. They no longer have the stamina to read 70 pages between Tuesday's class and Thursday's book club meeting."


"I initially carved out time for my American Literature students to sample titles and choose what they wanted to read. The time they then spent immersed in those books in class resulted in more reading outside of it. Daily reading increased their joy and fluency, confidence and stamina. My students were reading books from start to finish. In biology, world history, economics, and health, I worked with teachers to create additional book clubs around big ideas in the curriculum, and together we have watched students' thinking deepen in each classroom."

5.  Text Difficulty Matters

"A student at a certain reading level will not improve his or her proficiency unless he or she is continually challenged by the text. A student that reads a text written at or below his or her reading level is not being challenged. Conversely, a student presented with a text well above her or his reading level will find it too complex and grow frustrated. A text needs to be slightly above a reader’s ability level to challenge the student and promote growth in reading proficiency. "