I love all of the new books we get to read. I really like being able to choose what I like to read and not have to read the same thing as the whole class. My teacher talks to me about my books and I learn things about my book with him.”
This is the reaction of a fourth-grade student at George Mason Elementary School to the new reading textbook materials that all elementary schools received this week.
The new reading materials are more suited to the needs of our diverse student population, are globally focused and culturally sensitive. They are also aligned with current Virginia Standards of Learning, which will better support teachers in helping students acquire the skills and vocabulary needed to succeed in state testing.
This week all elementary schools received new reading textbook materials that they will use this school year with students in grades K through 5. They will help support teachers in increasing the amount of differentiation within the classroom according to the students’ needs and abilities.
I like the new stories my teacher reads to me. ‘Ish’ is my favorite story. I like talking about it with my friends. We have tons and tons and tons of books in our classroom.” — First-grade student at James K. Polk Elementary School.
The new textbooks were made possible when schools and Central Office departments rallied to pull together additional funding needed from last year’s budget on top of the funds approved in the FY 2019 budget to ensure the reading program could be updated this school year. Elementary reading materials had not been updated since 2004 and staff saw it as essential to make sure that students did not have to wait another school year to get access to the materials they need.
I’m confident my students will show great gains in oral reading levels. More importantly, my students will love reading, will read books in which the main character looks and acts like them and will learn strategies to support their decoding and comprehension skills.” — Rebecca Uzl, First-Grade Teacher, Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School
The new reading materials include more than 70,000 books, resources and other materials. They include kits for interactive reading out loud, collections of shared reading books, guided reading and book club materials, word study and phonics programs as well as books to add to their classroom libraries. The new materials are diverse and culturally sensitive so that students will be able to see themselves in what they read.
I like to read animal books, like the ‘Jackal and the Lion.’ I also like to read real things about animals, like where they live and what they eat. I would like it if my teacher would read more of these books. I like how the jackal tricked the lion.” — Moriah Ortez, second-grade student at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School
So what does this mean in our classrooms?
- Students will have access to the tools they need to support reading, comprehension, vocabulary and overall literacy skills.
- Teachers will be able to more easily and effectively differentiate their instruction based on a student’s learning style and background.
- Teachers have materials that are ready to integrate into the classroom so that they can spend less time researching curricula and resources and focus on how best to implement the materials.
- The new reading materials and resources are consistent across all of our schools, leading to increased collaboration among teachers from different schools and equity across all schools.
- Each classroom will receive over 200 new classroom library books selected by their teacher leaders to add to their classroom library.
- Our students will be prepared! The new textbooks and materials are aligned with current Virginia Standards of Learning and new English Language Arts (ELA) standards that were adopted in 2017 and will be tested next school year.
As a result of the new textbook adoption, I anticipate that students will be reading, thinking, speaking, and writing with a more in-depth understanding of the authentic books that they will be reading this year.” — Kelsey Galka, fourth-grade teacher at George Mason Elementary School.