My Inspiration: Where it all started...
In the very beginning....
The reason that I chose my topic on 'Emerging Readers Growth' was out of need. Half of the third grade students at my school site were Below Basic readers in phonics and reading comprehension and they needed some major intervention to catch up to be even close to grade level by the end of the school year. I just wanted to make one year's growth in one year's time, but these students hadn't done that for many years. I had never had so many BR (Beginning Readers) in one grade level after three years of formalized schooling.
I questioned why it was becoming a more and more frequent occurrence over the five years that I had been at the school site. There was a trend developing and the literacy deficit was becoming more and more of a gap each year. As the Intervention Specialist, I needed to look for a cure.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There is an increasing achievement gap between ethnicities in schools (Hispanic and Non-Hispanic students). Some students begin Kindergarten as second language learners and consistently fail to make growth as shown by their inability to exit the summative ELPAC (California English Language Development Test) testing (Foster & Miller, 2007). Goal setting and feedback is a positive way to start to set a growth mindset in academics to support their progress (Dweck, 2006). Writing goals to become better readers to close the achievement gap in reading can be used in all areas of education to raise the test scores and learning capacity for all students to succeed.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose and intent of this study was to determine if goal setting with third graders improves their success as readers. The results were measured with a pre and post test on the Reading Inventory assessment in comprehension. If the results were in agreement with the research questions, then we would see the comprehension scores improve more than an average of 60 lexile points per student.
Goal Setting: Time spent one-on-one with the teacher for goal setting makes a difference in Language Arts performance. Goals were set collaboratively with a teacher and third grade students. Goals were read daily to keep their focus on the goal and remind them of their action plan to accomplish their goals. Students took a baseline comprehension test and then retested after 12 weeks of working towards their goals. The goal setters almost doubled the non-goal setters’ average score in comprehension. An unexpected result of seventy-five percent of the below grade level readers admitted to having trouble focusing on reading.