New focus on reading: BRF Schools use 'Literacy Collaborative' program

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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis (WEAU) - Think back to your elementary school days, there was a time set aside for reading, writing and spelling. But new research shows that kids actually learn better when all three of those are taught together. The concept is called ‘Literacy Collaborative’.

"It's all about early intervention the earlier you can get kids reading and writing the more success they will have throughout their whole academic career,” said Forrest Street Early Learning Center Principal Michael Lichucki

Forrest Street Early Learning Center in Black River Falls started using the ‘Literacy Collaborative’ program last school year.

“We don't look at our kids as ‘this is a good reader, this is an average reader and this is a low reader.’ It's ‘this is what they know and what do they need to know next,’” said Literacy Coach Ann Eberhardt

Eberhardt says in the past reading and writing was taught separately.
But the problem with that was kids weren’t learning the connection between the two.

"We really work on breaking those pieces down and it’s not just comprehension separately and fluency separately they are not separate entities," said Eberhardt

Instead of just reading a book as a class or independently, Forrest first graders also listen to the book and write about what they read.

Amy Aebly's son, Spencer, has been in the program at Forrest for two years

"It's so exciting to see him at home reading books that I would have never thought he would be reading by now," said Aebly.

“The biggest difference is the ownership. They (the kids) are excited about it because they have so much control and from the teachers there is excitement because they really know their kids as readers,” said Lichucki.