Our mission at Mary Hull is to provide students with engaging and meaningful learning experiences that will motivate and inspire them to become confident lifelong learners. One way we work toward achieving this is through our Literacy Department. Mary Hull has four full time Literacy Leaders to support the reading needs of all students and the instructional needs of all teachers. Among those leaders are two certified Reading Specialists, an Early Literacy Specialist and a Language Support Specialist. Each specialist is highly trained in the area of literacy instruction and have specialized training in their areas of expertise. They are also trained in the area of dyslexia and provide services to our dyslexic students.
Our literacy leaders are available to students daily in small group instruction to support dyslexic students, students reading below grade level, and the bilingual student population. They also support students within the classroom by teaching in the regular classroom setting alongside the classroom teacher. These literacy leaders also support teachers’ improvement of their instructional practices by providing training, coaching and modeling. They work diligently to compile and analyze data to help teachers focus their instruction, help students achieve their reading goals, and to ensure that all students are making growth. Our literacy leaders have been trained in programs designed to help our struggling readers. Among those programs are Achieve 3000, Open Court, Soar to Success, Leveled Literacy Intervention, Lexia, and Corrective Reading.
Mary Hull is the only elementary school that uses Achieve 3000, a reading computer-based program that is formatted to support with the STAAR assessment. Selected third, fourth, and fifth grade students work through a five step process with engaging articles, which includes reading and highlighting important facts, answering comprehension questions, and writing responses to the articles. Teachers give instruction and guidance on comprehension skills and reading strategies. Students read and study the article with the teacher before reading their own individualized story. Each story is leveled according to the student’s reading level, so each student will have slightly different information and different questions. Students have 2 attempts at each question before receiving their scores. Students and teachers track their performance to measure reading level growth.
Our English Language Learners/ bilingual students here at Mary Hull Elementary have the luxury of working with a Language Support Teacher in all areas of content. Often times English Language Learner students encounter challenges in content area learning. The LST has 3 roles: 1) ensures equal educational opportunity, as required in the Texas Education Code (TEC) that provides a bilingual education program, 2) works with both bilingual teachers and 3) works with small groups of bilingual students (grades K through 5th).
The LST facilitates the LPAC Framework ongoing and annual review for the Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) that is a process that includes clarification of the legal requirements for the LPAC and reviews second language learners progress. When the LST works with teachers, using the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) as a linguistic instructional alignment to guide teachers to implement in their instruction as ways to gather information on how students are progressing in English language development while learning the content in their first language and bridging into the English language once the students have a solid foundation in their native language.
The LST works with bilingual students in small groups in their native language while providing additional opportunities to develop the English language and target the English Language Proficiency Standards through sheltered instruction: shared reading, guided reading, work stations, interactive word wall, writing, guided reading, and hands on learning. The LST ensures that students continue in their development of English Language proficiency, literacy, and academic skills needed for success in school.