Saturday, August 15, 2020

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E.A.G.L.E. Center students boost literacy with Achieve 3000

Hard working E.A.G.L.E. Center students pose with certificates of achievement they earned for increasing their reading levels. Back row: Chaney LeCompte, Jesse Giroux, and Julian Red Bear. Front row: Autumn Lara.

Students at the E.A.G.L.E. Center are utilizing a new online reading and writing program this school year for English and Social Studies.

Achieve 3000 is an online literacy program that uses flexibility to allow students to learn the fundamentals of reading and writing at their current levels so they can seamlessly take off on a trajectory that will help them continue to become stronger readers and writers, ultimately preparing them for college and/or their chosen career paths.

The two-fold differentiation provided by Achieve 3000 is crucial for students’ academic success. Serious frustration can arise when all students are expected to read the same materials (all presented at the same reading level) when, in fact, the students represent a large spectrum of reading abilities. Achieve 3000 presents new articles slightly above student’s current skill level (whether they are reading at 4th grade level or 12th). Length, vocabulary, as well as the availability of other helpful tools (text-to-speech) are all adjusted depending on that particular student’s needs and ability.

The other differentiation piece comes with the variety of topics that the students can choose from depending on their interests. Jesse Giroux said he likes it “because there is a variety of things to learn about: history, sports, politics, and technology.” 

Students are given a great deal of freedom to read articles that they can connect with and new interesting articles are rolled out daily that cover topics like vaping, environmental issues, managing stress/anxiety, issues concerning indigenous people, and so much more.   

The program features a game-like interface that students find stimulating, which allows them to compete against themselves and their own benchmarks. It also allows them to stack up against other students, both at the Eagle Center and at other schools in South Dakota.  Essentially, it allows for an even playing field.

“I like the competition factor,” said Chaney LeCompte after receiving several victories. 

Many E.C. students have won the honor of earning more points in SD than any other student for that particular day or week.

Even though students are enjoying the perks of winning, the real prize is the critical thinking, reading comprehension, and writing skills that will continue to serve them well after high school.

Overall, students are strong auditory learners, but are reading less and less, as YouTube videos and podcasts are the cultural norm.

“Transforming the bad habits of ‘text message’ writing into academic writing has been a challenge, but great improvements are being made.So far, students are experiencing great results from this program,” said Ms. Slocum, the social studies teacher at the E.C.