The 90% Reading Goal

by Lynn Fielding, Nancy Kerr, and Paul Rosier

This is the story of the effort of Kennewick School District in Washington to meet a goal of having 90% of their third graders reading at grade level.  Lynn Fielding, listed as an author, but holder of the copyright, is a tax attorney and had, at the time of the book, 12 years on their board.  Nancy Kerr is president of the Reading Foundation (described in the book), and a former Board member.  Paul Rosier is the Superintendent.

After noting the tremendous difference in exposure to knowledge that accrues for frequent readers vs. infrequent readers, the authors list the fundamentals of their approach:

  • A clear measurable goal, set by the Board
  • A system for measuring, K-3
  • Achievement reported in grade-level equivalents (e.g., "3rd grade, 5th month as opposed to, say "51st percentile)  -- They use the Northwest Education Evaluation Association (www.nwea.org) tests.  These tests have been recommended to me by other sources I trust
  • A district-wide position paper  explaining the ground rules, including each school developing its plan for incremental, continuous improvement over three to four years.
  • Parental (and community) involvement through a thorough and continuing effort to get parents to read to children 20 minutes a day from birth through grade school.