In the last three year at Rio, we have gone all in for reading. We have added many high interest books to our libraries and made sure our libraries are full time places to learn and explore books. We have encouraged students and teachers to engage in our Accelerated Reader program which asks students to read independently and take short comprehension quizzes to demonstrate their understanding and earn points for various kinds of affirmations. We have also focused in on the primary grades when children first come to be able to read and develop an interest in reading. This has included changing our kindergarten to an All day program beginning each early Fall as well as lowering our class sizes in kindergarten and first grade. We have also added more pre-school opportunities as well as transitional kindergarten classes.These efforts and many more initiatives are keenly focused on literacy development and particularly in helping every child become interested and competent readers.
Why all this effort and focus? Well, reading is central to academic success and the general ability to learn. While it is clear that we are working on many learning practices including writing, mathematics, technology and the 5Cs; Communication, Critical thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Caring, we know that reading is a bridge to human development in many of its aspects. This year we are focusing on helping students in the intermediate and middle grades to become better readers while we continue to seek improvement and expansion of reading programs across every grade level and subject matter.
We know that the easiest way for children to develop as readers is for them to be immersed in a family of readers. We encourage all our parents to read with, read to, and model themselves as readers of every kind of text including books, Internet based sources, and anything that engages and enlightens. We also encourage parents to develop an awareness of the quality and quantity of reading their children do each week while encouraging them to grow as readers regardless of their current status.