Why AE/MS Needs A Reading Specialist

CCSS reading mandates make the need critical

By Gretchen Hildebrand, AE/MS Second Grade Teacher

The budget to be voted on at School District Meeting on Monday, March 4, will include money to hire a reading specialist at AE/MS.

Andover Elementary/Middle School, like all other New Hampshire schools and those of most of the United States, is trying to embrace the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

As some in the community may recall, we had a reading specialist at AE/MS for a brief period of time several years ago. Filling that position was very helpful in bringing teachers valuable professional development, helping children receive individual reading assistance, and solving problems of ongoing assessment and professional dialogues around the concerns teachers had for their students in reading.

Our call for such an individual was and is significant for those reasons, and with the reading mandates of the CCSS, our need is now critical.

Reading is a key focus for every teacher of every subject, all the way through school. It is the CCSS goal that every child read proficiently by the end of third grade. A great emphasis is now on informational reading and writing, where children will not be tested as much on how they sound out words, but how much they understand what they read and can apply to other readings and in their own writing. There will continue to be a dramatic increase in the amount of reading required in school.

Although Andover teachers have jumped ahead of the curve in providing quality informational materials in our classrooms and our school library, thereby having less expense in that way, we are acutely aware that we need a highly-trained individual to help us prevent reading failure, advise us on the best ways to reach the diverse range of achievement in our classrooms, and provide expert assessment, instruction, and leadership alongside us on a weekly basis.

Having had a chance to work with such a person in the past, we realize how beneficial it is to have a reading specialist in our school. It is our sincere hope that the Andover voters will also understand the benefit and necessity of this position for the sake of all of our students and fund the position.