Education has come a long way from the days of the one-room schools. But, even with the advancements, the three basic building blocks remain the same -- The "Three Rs" -- reading, writing and arithmetic.
For about nine years, Brookport Elementary School's Reading Room has been helping students to increase and improve their reading skills.
Massac Unit One Superintendent Jason Hayes explains the Brookport Reading Room is part of Unit One's Response to Intervention (RtI) process for reading.
"In this class, students are grouped into tiers by their reading abilities. A staff member works with each group of students by providing instruction/practice for skills that they need to improve upon," said Hayes, pointing out for example, lower/younger reading groups work on letter sounds and blending letter sounds. Other groups may work on sight words and reading fluency practice, and other groups may work on reading comprehension skills to strengthen their understanding of reading material.
"The part of this intervention that is impressive to me is how each is matched to the specific skills that the students need to improve. The results have been very impressive as well," said Hayes.
As Debbie Christiansen, former Brookport Elementary principal explained, when a child has trouble with reading, the child will most likely have trouble with everything else.
When Christiansen was principal she was concerned with about the school's reading test scores. She had read something about how Anna had a reading room, so Brookport launched its own reading room, providing students with an extra time devoted to reading.
Monday through Thursday, each grade level from kindergarten through sixth grade spends 30 minutes in the reading room.
According to Lana Brown, director of the Reading Room, at the beginning of the school year testing is done and those scores help determine what students need to receive help with.
Brown said throughout the year benchmark testing is done to find out how the students progress.
When the program began the school had some older, level reading books they used.
Each day students work on vocabulary, site words, sounds and parts of text.
Tier One students are those who are reading on or above their grade level.
The Tier Two students are reading on their grade level, but it is "hit and miss."
The Tier Three students are those who have struggles with reading and are not at their grade level of reading.
Brown said the Tier Two and Three students are monitored weekly and, each Friday, teachers have meetings to evaluate student progress.
The majority of the funding for the Reading Room comes from Title One funds and during Reading Room time, in addition to the teacher of the classroom, there are two RtI aides and Brown, who also help provide instruction to the students.
Hayes also explained while the reading room began in 2008, during the previous superintendent's, the staffing for the reading room was cut for a few years. "It's only now getting back into full swing with Lana coming back," he said.
While Unit One has some internal data, Hayes said the state data will be coming in about two weeks and will give the district more insight on reading scores.