DETROIT — Of the top performing elementary schools in Detroit, Thirkell Elementary School was cited as the top school by posting strong proficiency rates on the MEAP, according to a report from Excellent Schools Detroit. Principal Clara Smith credited Beyond Basics’ one-on-one reading program which pairs students with certified tutors as a key driver in boosting reading levels, writing skills, and word comprehension.
“This is our 8th year at Thirkell Elementary running reading, writing, art, and mentoring programs. Our one-on-one reading tutoring and publishing centers are key,” said Beyond Basics president and founder, Pamela Good. “We get children to grade level in reading and they get excited about reading and writing through our book publishing centers where they become the authors!”
The 2013 Beyond Basic Reading Outcome report is included below.
Mid-Year Executive Summary
In the 2012-2013 school year, the Beyond Basics Reading Program has continued pursuing literacy improvement goals by reaching out to students and making a difference in their reading aptitude. During this school year, the Beyond Basics reading program was actively involved in improving reading proficiencies in the Burns, Burton, DSLA, and Thirkell schools.
A total of 149 students completed the Beyond Basics Reading Program from September 2012 through March 2013. The participating students started the program on average more than two grade levels behind in reading. Even more alarming is the severity of the deficit the further the student progress through school. The 3rd and 4th grade participants tested at a deficit of approximately one grade level while the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade participants were even more severely challenged revealing a 2 to 2 ½ grade level reading deficiency.
The Beyond Basics program experienced a 100% success by improving grade level reading for all 149 participating students after an average of 22 reading sessions. The participating 3rd grade student (48 total) on average entered the program reading between a 1st and 2nd grade level and they exited the program reading at a 3rd grade level. In addition, 4th grade students (17 total) on average entered the program reading between a 2nd and 3rd grade level and exited the program reading securely at a 4th grade level.
Moreover, 5th grade students (13 total) on average were able to bring their reading abilities to grade level; starting the program reading on average at a 3rd grade level and ending the program at a 5th grade reading level. Lastly, the 6th grade students (44 total), 7th grade students (19 total), and 8th grade students (8 total) were able to overcome severe reading challenges, with most averaging reading deficit of nearly three grades. These gaps reduced on average by approximately two full grade levels or more.
Other critical elements to reaching reading success were student improvements in key areas. Word Attack skills, which are the developmental foundation for reading success as it offers key tools for continued mastery, were on average elevated by a full reading grade level. Book Level reading scores, which reveal a student’s book level reading aptitude, were on average elevated by 2 ½ grade levels. Lastly, and most notable in regards to reading readiness and overall confidence in reading capacity, was the pronounced improvement in fluency averaging a 16 words per minutes jump.