IRRC Advisory Council

IRRC logoOur first full IRRC Advisory Council meeting of the academic year will occur on Sept. 23. This group is composed of representatives from state and local education agencies, community and professional organizations, public and private colleges, parents and advocates. It is inspiring to have so many individuals of different backgrounds come together out of their common concern for the literacy abilities of Iowa’s students. This year, Dr. Kimberly Buryanek, Associate Superintendent of the Sioux City Community School District, was elected by her colleagues to serve as chair of the Advisory Council. Dr. Renita Schmidt, Associate Professor at the University of Iowa College of Education, was elected to serve as vice chair. You can read more about all of our council members on our website. Their suggestions and support are a valuable resource not only for the work of the IRRC, but also for the implementation of literacy initiatives statewide.

Universal Screening in Reading

As fall universal screening begins, it can be helpful to review a few dos and don’ts for the use of an oral reading fluency measure such as the Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST) Curriculum-Based Measurement for Reading (CBM-R).
Let students know in advance what they will be asked to do during the test and how the information will help with planning reading lessons. Pre-teach the words or passages students will encounter on the test.
Deliver the instructions as scripted, including the statement that students should do their best reading. Encourage students to speed read or read as fast as they can.
Score the reading very carefully and accurately. Choose to ignore errors on words you think are unfair, too difficult, etc.
Maintain a positive environment during testing and offer neutral praise such as, “You are doing a nice job concentrating while you are reading.” Use verbal or physical signals to indicate when a student has read something correctly or needs to self-correct an error.
Follow-up on a score below benchmark to confirm whether the student has difficulty with particular reading skills. Make big decisions about students on the basis of a single test score.
Discuss the test and other data on students’ reading performance with a literacy coach or in a professional learning community. Submit the test score in TIER and forget about it until the next screening wave.

Additional information about universal screening is available in our blog post “Universal Screening.”

Extend Literacy Education with a Library Card

Most importantly, we need to keep students actively reading a variety of texts for a variety of purposes, all year long. September is Library Card Sign-up Month featuring honorary chair Snoopy, so encourage families to make sure they have one of the most important school supplies available—a library card—and can take advantage of the resources available in their public libraries. This will help extend the time students spend reading and communicate that reading is a fun activity for people of all ages.

Deborah ReedDeborah K. Reed, Ph.D.

Director, Iowa Reading Research Center


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Iowa Reading Research Center · The University of Iowa College of Education · 103 Lindquist Center · Iowa City, IA 52242 · USA

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