R.I.S.E. Arkansas

R.I.S.E. (Reading Initiative for Student Excellence) Arkansas encourages a culture of reading by coordinating a statewide reading campaign with community partners, parents, and teachers to establish the importance of reading in homes, schools, and communities. This initiative is facilitated through the Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. The goals of R.I.S.E. are as follows: 

Goal 1: Sharpen the focus and strengthen instruction.  

Goal 2: Create community collaboration.  

Goal 3: Build a culture of reading!

Because of R.I.S.E., the focus on reading progression for your child has shifted from determining your child’s reading level to determining what skills they need to read with fluency and comprehension. Some changes to instructional practices in the Science of Reading that you may notice this year are:

1. Teaching phonics systematically and explicitly.

- a. Our K-2 teachers are using Phonetic Connections from Benchmark Phonics. Each grade level has paced out the units to align correctly with our year at a glance. We are using Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Curriculum to engage students in activities teaching early skills such as rhyming and onset fluency, basic skills of blending and segmenting sounds, and working with the complex and advanced skills of substituting, adding, and deleting phonemes.

2. Read from decodable texts rather than leveled readers.

- a. You may remember in previous years your child received a DRA reading level ranging from 2-30+. Since our emphasis is not solely on reading levels, we have moved to books that allow students to decode. Assessments such as the PAST are diagnostic and give specific skills to build students phonics fluency.

3. Introduce phonology ( what children hear ) followed by orthography ( what children see  before moving to the meaning.

- a. Complete connections between letters seen in the written forms of words and phonemes detected in their pronunciations for orthographic mapping takes place so students can move from word identification (blending/sounding out) to instant word recognition (immediately recognized in 1-4 exposures).

4. Focus on the decodable part of high frequency words then address the parts that are irregular.

- a. High frequency words (previously known as “sight”words) have been paced according to where they fall in our phonics program. Students may not receive a “list” to study for each week, but they are working on words they should know and recognize based on syllable patterns.

5. Group students based on common reading deficits instead of a level of reading ability.

- a. Teachers are using diagnostic assessments to group students based on skills such as Syllable Levels, Onset-Rime Levels and Phoneme Level adapted from David Kilpatrick's PAST assessment. This allows them to group students based on a specific skill.

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