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Good things are happening at Petersen Elementary



By Sun Advocate

Students of all ages enjoy reading. In fact, Robin Trujillo reads to her all day kindergarten class on a daily basis. The students learn the importance of reading through example.

In spite of major building repairs, good education is taking place at Petersen Elementary. A dedicated staff has spent 100 hours each year for the past two years participating in the reading excellence act training. This training has focused on helping teachers understand the theories of the latest science-based reading research and learning strategies to apply these exciting new ideas. Tisa Manus is the staff developer who coaches, models and coordinates reading activities. Manus says that “the teachers have worked hard and are good examples of how teachers can learn to use the latest and best practices in their classrooms.”
Petersen’s secretary Rikki Palmer says that she enjoys the attitude the students have toward reading.
“Parents, grandparents and students come for reading activities before school and they all seem to love it.”
One particular reading activity which has become a success is the dads and doughnuts program. This is where the fathers come to school and read with their children.
An example of a science based reading strategy is called an anticipatory guide or set. Prior to participating in reading a new book or story, the teacher engages students in discussions, activities or questions to help them activate their previous knowledge and connect it to the themes, ideas and concepts in the new reading selections. Anticipatory set helps speed students rate of learning and make new connections to prior knowledge.
Soar to success is a reading program for third to sixth graders while early reading is the first and second grade components. Special education instructor Sharon Manchester uses these strategies for the inclusion component of the schools reading program. In fact, Manchester says that soar is an intense reading and writing program that focuses on fluency, high frequency word recognition and lots of oral reading.
Students select books that require five to six days to read. Manchester then attends each class from first grade through sixth grade each morning to help the students become fluent readers of their books. Meanwhile, students are also reading with their regular teacher or reading independently.
Most teachers teach writing by using a program called writers workshop. Even Janine Avery’s first grade class utilizes this program. Students write each day on self selected topics. They then share their work in groups and publish a final draft on homemade books, bulletin boards or hallway walls.
Older students including Melody Anderson’s fifth grade class revise and edit their work prior to publication. All students conference with peers and with the teacher before revising their work.
The fifth grade class is also writing to authors of their favorite books asking them questions about their stories and their writing.

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