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Dallas ISD launches initiative to get students reading and writing skills at grade level

Educators are pushing several programs to help students and teachers address learning loss experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Credit: Halfpoint - stock.adobe.com
Small children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

DALLAS — Students are preparing to head back to classes for the 2021-2022 school year. Many educators know getting children adjusted to full-time in-person instruction may be a challenge, especially after a year of virtual learning in a pandemic.

“The data is showing that we have experienced some learning loss in our content areas,” said Arlena Gaynor, Executive Director of Language, Literacy, and Social Studies at Dallas Independent School District.

A team of educators said Dallas ISD is being proactive in addressing literacy. The number of students who passed the Reading portion of the STAAR exam dropped by 5.8% from 2019 to 2021, according to school district data.

“We are taking a forward-facing, and forward approach with this,” Gaynor said.

Dallas ISD launched an initiative called L.I.T. or Literacy Is Transforming.

The L.I.T. initiative uses four programs to get students reading and writing at grade level.

Among the programs:

Summer Breeze

Revamps summer school classes. It encourages students to read books and work with their classmates on solutions to solve the characters’ problems.

Reading Academies

Focuses on training teachers Kindergarten – Third Grade. Dallas ISD already trained a class of 1200. It’s inviting a class of 1300 in the new school year.

“They can really get the foundational skills that are going to be necessary to teach students how to read,” explained Dr. Elena Hill, Assistant Superintendent of Early Learning.

Project Read

A partnership between Dallas ISD and Apple to renovate some of the school district's libraries.

“We’re going to be launching what we call Read Labs. And these are zones where students are actively researching. They’re exploring. They’re applying their learning and they are designing in these spaces,” said Tim Linley, Executive Director of Visual and Performing Arts.

Disciplinary Literacy

Allows Dallas ISD to build curriculum across content areas. The hope is greater expanding reading, writing, thinking, and discussion skills.

“At the end of the day, we want to know what the students are learning, how they are learning it, and how they know that they’ve learned it.”

Go here to learn more about Dallas ISD’s L.I.T. initiative.