“Read to Ride” program culminates with large gains in third-grade reading across MISD

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MARSHALL, Texas – Last fall, Marshall ISD entered into a new, innovative program with Mission Marshall to challenge third-grade students across the district to increase their cumulative grade-level reading averages.

With last week’s culmination of the new “Read to Ride” program, a total of 268 of the district’s 450 third-graders – or 60 percent – reached their reading goals and earned a brand-new, fully assembled bicycle courtesy of Mission Marshall.

Mrs. Rachel Hooten, English Language Arts Coordinator for MISD, presented a final report to the MISD Board of Trustees during the regular monthly meeting of the board on May 15. Due largely to the increased emphasis and incentive offered through Mission Marshall’s “Read to Ride” initiative, every MISD elementary campus showed third-grade reading level gains over the past school year.

“There is a positive correlation between campuses with significant growth from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017 and strong campus participation in Read to Ride,” Hooten said. “Tracking students as second-graders in 2015-2016 and then again as third-graders in 2016-2017, students showed increased reading level gains during the 2016-2017 school year compared to the average growth attained during the previous school year.”

The improvement is evident in the numbers: in 2015-2016, MISD elementary campuses had one campus out of its six elementary’s – South Marshall STEM Academy – where third-graders, on average, were reading at a third-grade level.

By comparison, at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, five of the six have seen its third-graders at or above grade level in reading.

“Research has shown that third-grade reading levels are an indicator of future academic success, which led Mission Marshall to offer the Read to Ride program to that particular group of students,” said Misty Scott, Executive Director of Mission Marshall. “We received donations and raised money to purchase the bicycles, and the response from our community was overwhelming. It is our goal to provide even more bicycles to students next year through the second year of the “Read to Ride” program.”

South Marshall STEM saw the biggest percentage of its third graders receive bikes, with 93 of the 95 eligible students (98 percent) taking home their new ride on Friday, May 19. The next two largest groups in terms of percentage to earn bicycles were J.H. Moore Elementary, where 43 of the 60 third-graders (72 percent) earned bikes and also at Robert E. Lee Elementary, where 42 of the 67 third-graders (63 percent) took home their hard-earned prizes.

In terms of campus third grade Reading Level Averages, the results were even more dramatic in average reading level gains over the past year among MISD third graders:
  • Carver Elementary third graders increased from an average 1.8 RLA in 2015-2016 to a 3.03 RLA in 2016-2017.
  • J.H. Moore Elementary third graders increased from an average 2.0 RLA in 2015-2016 to a 3.3 RLA in 2016-2017. This represented the largest increase in terms of RLA percentage in MISD.
  • Robert E. Lee Elementary third graders increased from an average of 2.1 RLA in 2015-2016 to 3.2 RLA in 2016-2017.
  • William B. Travis Elementary third graders increased from an average of 1.9 RLA in 2015-2016 to a 3.1 RLA in 2016-2017.
  • South Marshall STEM Academy third graders increased from an average of 3.7 RLA in 2015-2016 to 4.4 RLA in 2016-2017.
  • Crockett Elementary third graders increased from an average of 2.1 RLA in 2015-2016 to 2.6 RLA in 2016-2017.

The Reading Level Averages are based on end-of-year average reading level for all third-grade classes by campus.

The Read to Ride program was first announced back in October as a joint initiative between MISD and Mission Marshall. The program was intended to promote strong reading skills at the critical age of third grade, with all MISD third-graders eligible to earn a new bicycle and safety helmet for meeting their assigned Renaissance Reading (AR) challenge level by May 1.

Teachers, principals, interventionists, literacy coaches, and students were encouraged to help set each student’s individual Read to Ride goal, and all six elementary campuses held kick-off events where students had the opportunity to see the new bike up close while learning about the contest. MISD sent letters in both English and Spanish home with each student, encouraging parental support.

Teachers helped students track their program and monitored goals throughout the year during the contest window, and the district and Mission Marshall coordinated various support and mini-reward parties to further encourage students this spring.

The program culminated last week, with each school hosting a Read to Ride campus celebration to distribute the 268 bicycles to the students who earned them through the program. At some campuses, second-grade students were in attendance at these celebrations to give them the inspiration to excel in the program in 2017-2018.

Goals for the 2017-2018 Read to Ride program, which begins in September, will be to increase the number of third-grade students earning bicycles to 75 percent and to increase the RLA for third graders in MISD by .5-1.0 over the course of the year, on average, per campus.

Those wishing to contribute or be involved with next year’s Read to Ride program may contact Mission Marshall at 903-472-4944, or e-mail Misty Scott at mscott@missionmarshall.org.

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