Elementary Literacy Program

  • Garrett County Public Schools delivers a structured literacy approach when instructing students in English Language Arts.  The approach is aligned with the Science of Reading with a multi-resource approach.

    Phonological Awareness

    Garrett County Public Schools uses supplemental materials to specifically address the foundational auditory skills of phonological awareness using Heggerty, IMSE’s Phonological Awareness Training, and Kilpatrick’s One Minute Drills in his book Equipped for Reading Success. These skills practice skills such as rhyming, alliteration, and segmenting, blending, adding and substituting syllables, onset-rime, and individual sounds.


    Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (IMSE)

    Garrett County Public Schools apply the processes of IMSE in the foundational skills of reading. An Orton-Gillingham approach is used to teach explicit phonics through the connection of the sounds and letters in an explicit, systematic, and sequential approach. Students in grades K-2 are taught a multi-sensory process for decodable and high-frequency words to aid in the reading and spelling of the language. Morphology is the focus of the lessons in grades 3-5 in order to build the vocabulary needed to comprehend text. Grammar is incorporated at all levels to build the skills needed to develop syntax or sentence structure.  All lessons are developed with the use of a review drill to keep skills spiraling through the year to develop mastery. Concepts are introduced in a specific manner designed to develop connections in the brain, then apply them through the spelling and reading of the language at an independent level.

    American Reading Company (ARC Core)

    Garrett County Schools launched a new literacy program in the 2020-2021 school year; the American Reading Company literacy resources and framework in grades K-5. The focus is on identifying the independent reading level of the individual child using the  Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA). The IRLA delivers specific and actionable data that tells the teacher where a student is, why, and the sequence of skills/behaviors she needs to learn next to accelerate her reading growth. During the first nine weeks of school, our district focuses on the IRLA, reading & writing power standards and The 100 Book Challenge. This is a standards-based supplemental reading program that challenges students to read 100 books.

    The 100 Book challenge is a reading program designed by the American Reading Company (ARC) that is designed to help develop lifelong readers. This program will be taking over AR (no more "read a book, take a quiz"). Instead, children will be challenged to dramatically increase their amount of reading from day to day and focus on "Power Goals"/Skills to improve their independent reading. The program is based upon six essential factors, which serve as the focus of Quarter 1:

    1. Classroom Libraries – Circulating, leveled libraries provide hundreds of books for students to read.1.

    2. Leveling System – The leveling system makes explicit what readers need to know and be able to do at each reading level.

    3. Teacher-Coached In-School Reading – Thirty minutes (minimum) of in-class reading is the central component of the program. Teachers work individually with students while the entire class reads from books they have selected.

    4. At-Home Reading – Thirty minutes (minimum) of parent-supervised independent reading every night helps students become lifelong readers.

    5. Data Collection – The School ePACE student data-tracking program allows teachers and administrators to record student progress easily and provides detailed graphs, statistics, and trend data for frequent collection and swift intervention.

    The premise behind this program is that children read a minimum of 30 minutes at HOME and 30 minutes of independent reading at SCHOOL each DAY. The students will be able to select from hundreds of books in the classroom that match their independent reading level (as assigned every few weeks by the teacher through IRLA--the Independent Reading Level Assessment by ARC). Students will be tracking the amount of reading that they complete with the goal of reaching at least 100 steps each marking period...every 15 minutes of reading equals 1 step. The teacher will hold conferences regularly with the students to assess their understanding of the material they are reading, assess progress within the level, and set goals for future reading.