MORE is more

There have been many changes to

education in Ohio with the passing of Senate Bill 316, including the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

The guarantee states students entering third grade in 2013-14 cannot be promoted to the next level if they score below a certain level on the Ohio Achievement Assessment.

Many schools are turning to reading intervention programs such as Project MORE. Elementary schools in Fostoria, Hopewell-Loudon, Mohawk, New Riegel and Upper Sandusky are utilizing the program that was created in Putnam County in 1999.

This program is a research-based reading intervention program, Fostoria Intermediate Elementary teacher Pam Berrier said.

According to its website, Project MORE was designed to raise expectations and performance for children with disabilities in reading, but also has proven effective for students at-risk for reading failure.

“The program offers students an opportunity to receive one-on-one support at their level,” Berrier said. “They are working on increasing the words they read per minute by repeating the story, completing a graphic organizer, completing a comprehension check and vocabulary skill worksheet each week.”

Project MORE began in August at Fostoria Intermediate Elementary.

“We started tutoring eight students in September and now we have 86 students each week,” Berrier said. “Project MORE provides reading intervention at each student’s reading level. If a student is not on grade level based on assessments, our goal is to get them in our program.”

According to Berrier, the Project MORE data shows students are reading more words per minute and students are becoming more confident.

“Project MORE, along with other support, is helping out students. This program can also aide the 5-12 graders who serve as mentors. We hope that it helps students being mentored and the student doing the mentoring,” she said.

Volunteers can be community members, school staff, family of the staff or students.

Volunteers must attend a training, complete their assigned paper work and pass a background check that is paid for by the school.

“The goal is that each volunteer comes in at least once a week for 30 minutes,” Berrier said. “Many of our volunteers do more than that.”

According to the Ohio Department of Aging, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program is partnering with Project MORE to improve childhood literacy, engage elders to support community needs and teach kids the secrets of living long and healthy lives.

“Project MORE is an evidence-based intervention that is effective, affordable, replicable and sustainable, and is producing results in 300 schools,” said Amy Freeman, Project MORE director. “Independent research conducted by Bowling Green State University’s Center for Evaluation Services consistently reports students with specific learning disabilities or at risk for reading failure make month-for-month reading level gains whey they are mentored in reading one-on-one, three to four times a week.”

Having students read multiple times helps with increasing vocabulary, fluency and reading skills, Kelly Stahl said. Stahl is a teacher for Hopewell-Loudon Schools.

“The main goal is to keep students’ reading on track and bring them up to grade level,” she said.

The program does not replace regular classroom instruction, Stahl said.

Stahl said, along with the reading, the bonds between the mentors and the students is just as important.

“I believe that there is a strong community connection with Hopewell-Loudon. Students enjoy the mentors relationships and are disappointed when they do not come in,” Stahl said.

The material the students use comes directly from the curriculum already in place.

“We have an obligation to see that the students get the

very best opportunities,” Stahl said.

“Project MORE is an important piece of our intervention program,” Berrier said. “With the new common core and other requirements of classroom teachers, providing one-on-one intervention is very difficult for most teachers. Project MORE provides that for students. It gives students the opportunity to feel successful and work with another person away from peers.”

“Project MORE allows for the community to come into our building and work with our students. It is truly a rewarding program. They get to see just how wonderful our students and staff are,” she added.