By Tara Brandl
The Milroy Public School board started this year with a new reading program called Benchmark Advance. School board members heard a presentation from kindergarten teacher Jennifer Wagner on Monday evening as to the program thus far.
“The one thing we really liked about it when we first opened it up is it’s vertically aligned,” Wagner said. “So each class is studying basically the same topic. In unit one everybody was studying some part of government or citizenship. The older the kids get, the more rigorous it gets. In kindergarten, it is more about rules, why we have rules and rules at home and school. In first grade it gets more into the community, why we have rules and what it means to be a good community member. Each grade gets a little more rigorous. It also includes quite a bit of social studies and quite a bit of science. That’s what we liked the most about it and it jumped out at us right away.”
The new reading program includes whole group and small group lessons each day. The small group lessons can be individualized to the student. Wagner said the small-school setting makes it easy to do a small group and individualized lessons for the kids based on their needs.
“We start with whole group, so we teach the main idea for the lesson for that particular day,” she said. “Then we’d break them off into the particular work stations. That way we can pull them back and do small group work or individualized work. We have level books for all readers (beginner readers, middle level readers, higher level readers) so we are able to individualize it for so many different groups. We have a lot of things to read with them and reading is so important.”
In addition to the whole group and small group lessons, workstations are included. Each workstation includes word work, reading, writing, technology and puzzles and games. This again allows time for individualized work for the students.
Wagner also discussed consumable books that are used for first grade and up and how this plays into the overall lesson outside the classroom.
See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.