Sprague Elementary School adopted the Horizons reading program in 2004. The Horizons program is a direct instruction program. It gives our students a very strong phonetic base. A strong phonetic base creates confidence in our young readers in their abilities to decode words that are typically considered difficult for their age groups. Due to student reading success at the lower primary levels, our students are able to accelerate their reading abilities and begin to "read to learn" at a younger age.
A variety of reading materials are used (non-fiction trade books, fables, magazines, poetry, etc.) in addition to the Horizons curriculum in the upper elementary grades to enhance our students' reading skills and higher level thinking skills. Students are developing reading strategies that prepare them to interact with new text and make connections. We are hoping to cultivate students who not only comprehend, but analyze story elements, text features, similarities/differences, common themes, and other skills that align with the Common Core State Standards.
The Sprague Elementary staff members believe in the benefits of a kindergarten through fourth grade reading block. The reading block is 1 hour 25 minutes daily and starts first thing every morning after daily routines are completed. This block allows the daily practice that is necessary to become proficient at any skill such as reading.
One of the many benefits of our reading program is that students are placed in reading groups based on their ability levels, not their grade levels. This can take place because the entire grade school is participating in the reading block at the same time. The advantage of grouping students in this manner becomes very evident when new students coming to Sprague Elementary School who are not reading at grade level are often able to quickly close the gap.