Colonial School District Enlists Reading Horizons to Help Improve Student Performance

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The strategies presented in Reading Horizons will help kindergarten and first-grade students in New Castle, Delaware, develop foundational reading skills.

We show how to build and use strategies in the classroom so teachers will be able to provide students with the foundational skills crucial for reading success.

Beginning this year, teachers and literacy coaches in the Colonial School District of New Castle, Delaware, will use Reading Horizons reading instruction strategies in all K–1 classrooms to improve students’ reading skills.

The district first used Reading Horizons strategies in reading intervention classrooms to help struggling students develop a strong foundation in phonics. Pleased by improvements it saw, the district eventually purchased components of Reading Horizons direct instruction materials to broaden the use of the strategies into mainstream classes and supplement the core curriculum.

Aligned to the Common Core State Standards, the Reading Horizons program features an explicit, sequential, systematic approach to reading instruction. Students learn to decode one-syllable and multi-syllabic words by analyzing them and applying simple markings. The highly interactive, multi-sensory design of the program accommodates the different ways students learn (by using visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic modalities), so each student can succeed—no matter the dominant learning style.

Matt Crismon, Certified Trainer for Reading Horizons, has helped the district’s teachers and literacy coaches learn the new strategies. He sees a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about this new addition to the curriculum. “By supplementing the core program with Reading Horizons, the district is helping teachers get the instructional support they need.” He adds, “educators really like our professional development because it is not a passive learning experience; it engages them. We show how to build and use strategies in the classroom so teachers will be able to provide students with the foundational skills crucial for reading success.”

The district’s literacy coaches have attended a couple of two-day workshops, and three of the literacy coaches have even gone on to become certified trainers in the Reading Horizons methodology. After the training, literacy coaches can help ensure that teachers fully understand how to teach the strategies and use the materials.

Reading Horizons is also helping the district meet its goal of providing greater differentiated instruction for its students. Because of the flexible program design, Reading Horizons can be taught whole class, one-on-one, or in small groups, so teachers can target instruction in specific skills to just those students who need it. The program is suitable for all levels of student skill and is especially helpful for students with language processing disorders and English Language Learners.

About Reading Horizons:

Founded in 1984, Reading Horizons provides teacher training, teacher’s manuals, and interactive software that empower teachers to effectively teach beginning readers, struggling readers, and English Language Learners. By learning the core of the Reading Horizons framework (The 42 Sounds of the Alphabet, Five Phonetic Skills, and Two Decoding Skills), students have all of the skills they need to read the vast majority of words in the English language. The Reading Horizons program is currently offered in over 10,000 schools across the country. Follow Reading Horizons at

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Angela Stevens
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