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    Increasing Reading Comprehension Achievement of Fourth Grade Level Students

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    Heights Elementary School continuously tries to build and improve alliances with the business community and provide opportunities for interaction through activities such as McTeacher night at McDonalds, our annual volunteers breakfast, and Career Day. Businesses sign a formal statement pledging their support for the services or contributions they are making to the school. Heights Elementary School provides students requiring additional remediation through extended learning opportunities offered through before-school and/or after-school programs. Professional development is also provided for teachers in order to support the academic needs of the students. Parents are also offered monthly academics in order to bridge the gap between the home and the school. Heights Elementary School also has a part-time Title 1 funded Community Involvement Specialists (CIS). The CIS supports the learning community by engaging in home visits, telephone calls, school site and community parenting activities.

    The CIS schedules meetings and activities, encourages parents to support their child’s education, provides resources and materials, coordinates Parent Academy workshops, and encourages parental participation in the decision making processes at the school site. At Heights Elementary School, Instructional Coaches/liaisons develop, lead, and evaluate school core content standards/programs. Systematic data patterns and trends are identified in order to address student needs. Instructional Coaches and liaisons collaborate with teachers and district personnel to identify appropriate, research-based intervention strategies and resources. Through progress monitoring, data collection and analysis, research-based intervention strategies and resources. Through progress monitoring, data collection and analysis, professional development is designed to provide support for assessment and implementation monitoring. Furthermore, Instructional Coaches/liaisons assist with Response to Interventions (RtI) in order to support and monitor “at risk” students’ progress. Parents participate in the design of their school’s Parent and Family Engagement Plan (PFEP), the school improvement process and the annual Title 1 Parent Meeting. The annual M-DCPS Title 1 Parent/Family Involvement Survey is used towards the end of the school year to measure the quality of the parent programs established over the course of the year and to facilitate planning for the following school year. Every effort is made to inform parents of the importance of this survey via the CIS, Tile 1 District and Region meetings, Title 1 Newsletter for parents, and title 1 Quarterly Parent Bulletins.

    This survey is available for parents as a hard copy or online for them to complete. Other components that are integrated into the school-wide program include an extensive Parental Program and special support services to populations such as homeless, migrant, immigrant, and/or neglected and delinquent students. The school provides services and support to migrant students and parents. The district Migrant liaison coordinates with Title 1 and other programs and conducts a comprehensive needs assessment of migrant students to ensure that their unique needs are met. Currently, Heights Elementary School has no migrant students. Title III Supplemental Tutoring Academy English Language Learners Grant allows students who are non-English speakers to participate I after-school tutorials that will enhance the core instruction and will assist the students not only to acquire the language, but also bridge the academic gaps that may exist. Heights Elementary School provides services and support to homeless students and parents. The school’s counselors coordinate with the social worker and the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) in order to provide students in transition with uniforms, spirit shirts, and other resources, which meet their needs. The school counselor provides students with lessons and quarterly assemblies on topics such as the HIV/AIDS, Anti-Bullying, Anti-Drugs and others that support the social emotional needs of our students.


    Heights Elementary School serves 989 students in grades Prekindergarten-5 in a culturally diverse community in the North-Dade County. The percentage of students achieving proficiency in Math is 40% (which is lower than the Florida state average of 54%) for the 2017-2018 school year. The percentage of students achieving proficiency in Reading/Language Arts is 38% (which is lower than the Florida state average of 52%) for the school year 2017-2018. Heights Elementary School placed in the bottom 50% of all schools in Florida for overall test scores (math proficiency is bottom 50%, and reading proficiency is bottom 50%) for the school year of 2017-2018. The student: teacher ratio of 13:1 is lower than the Florida state level of 16:1. It is a Title 1 school servicing approximately 65% Spanish speaking students; many who are second language learners in addition to 35% African American student population.


    Increasing reading comprehension achievement of fourth grade level students is the topic for this proposed project. Every two weeks the students are learned about different Reading comprehension skills so they can become successful readers. At the end of the two weeks, the students are administered a Weekly Reading Comprehension Assessment test. In the beginning of the school year, the students were taught a previous learned skill in Third Grade, “Sequence & Context Clues”, and they were also tested on the skilled learn. The students were expected to achieve a 70% (C) or better because it was a refresher skill that was learnt in the Third Grade. However, upon the completion of the grade process, there was a trend in the student’s scores on the Weekly Assessments on what was expected and the actual score achieved by each student. The scores indicated that 4 out of 25 students scored a 70% (C) or better, while 21 students did not meet the expectations. Moreover, the 21 students who did not meet the expectations, are reading between a Kindergarten level and a Second grade level on iReady Diagnostic 1, when the minimum expected for a Fourth grade student is early Fourth grade level. The iReady Diagnostic scores and the Weekly Assessment is evidence shown that the 21 students require intervention in the skill they are lacking progress to help them become successful readers.

    Rationale for Selecting the Topic

    In the Fourth grade classroom, the teacher and students are working diligently to improve student’s achievement scores on the Weekly Reading Comprehension Assessment test that measures the students Reading Comprehension reflect in table 1. The students have to continue working on iReady to help fill in the achievement gap that is not helping them progress on the Weekly Reading Comprehension Assessment. The Weekly Reading Comprehension Assessments are aligned with the Florida Standard Assessment. If the students are receiving 70% (C) or higher on the weekly assessments, it predicts that the student will mostly likely score a 3 on the Florida Standard Assessments. According to “Comprehension Challenges in the Fourth Grade: The Roles of Text Cohesion, Text Genre, and Readers’ Prior Knowledge ” it states that “Our research targets children in grade 4 because there is some evidence that children at that age are at a crtical period in reading development characterized by an emergence of comprehension difficulties. ” (McNamara, Ozuru & Floyd, 2011, p. 2).

    Research Ethics

    The community and the school of this research remain anonymous, as “educational researchers must ensure that they are not exposing participants to unnecessary and atypical physical or psychological harm.” (Mertler, 2016, p. 53). The writer intends to respect everyone privacy, confidentially during this research practice and to report findings in a complete and honest manner.


    1. McNamara, Ozuru & Floyd, (2011). Comprehension Challenges in the Fourth Grade: The Roles of Text Cohesion, Text Genre, and Readers’ Prior Knowledge Washington, D.C. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education
    2. Mertler, C. A. (2016). Introduction to educational research. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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