, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 31-51

Schools as host environments: Toward a schoolwide reading improvement model

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Abstract

Despite vast differences among school districts across the country, all students must learn how to read in a complex “host-environment” called a school. A challenge in beginning reading, therefore, is to transcend these differences and focus, instead, on the essential task of teaching reading in schools. Teaching reading involves attending to what we know about beginning reading and the alphabetic writing system, the difficulties of reading, and the challenges associated with dyslexia. Teaching reading in a school requires that interventions be tailored to the unique needs of an individual school and implemented and sustained at the school building level. In this article, we outline the Schoolwide Reading Improvement Model (SRIM). This model is characterized by the strategic integration of research-based practices in assessment, instructional design, and beginning reading instruction. Additionally, the SRIM acknowledges the specific needs of individual schools and is customized to provide the best fit with each unique “host-environment.” First we provide a description of each major stage of the SRIM and then an example of its application in a school district in western Oregon.