Muir School Sets Sights on Improving Reading Comprehension

Article excerpt

Byline: Shruti Date Daily Herald Staff Writer

After almost two years of work, John Muir School in Hoffman Estates soon might receive the green light to fully implement a set of practices school officials hope will improve student performance.

The Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 school board at its Jan. 24 meeting will vote on a final set of recommendations delivered in December by a task force charged with developing strategies to improve reading comprehension at Muir.

"We've put a lot of time and energy into it," said Muir Principal Dorian Poole.

The task force, which began its work in the spring of 2000, recommended the school adopt new teaching and community relations techniques to improve low reading test scores. The 2000 Illinois Standards Achievement Test showed that 42 percent of Muir fifth- graders read below state standards compared to 28 percent districtwide. Test scores were slightly better in 2001, but much work still needs to be done.

One of the recommended practices, the Four Blocks of Literacy system, already has been introduced in the school but will be formalized depending on the board's vote. The literacy system aims to establish a balanced reading curriculum in the school and emphasizes consistency in teaching.

The task force also has recommended setting aside rooms for small-group instruction and establishing "houses of students," which are intended to help groups of students develop connections with each other and teachers. …