Literacy & Numeracy Initiative
The Rialto Unified School District Foundational Literacy Initiative was established to provide first through third grade teachers, students and families the support, training and resources needed to ensure strong foundational literacy skills thereby ensuring that all students read at grade level by the end of the third grade. During our journey towards literacy excellence, Rialto Unified has invested in providing primary grade level classrooms Reading Certificated Specialists, Co-Teacher supports in first grade classrooms, a partnership with the University of Southern California to provide a Reading and Literacy Authorization program for teachers, and is working to further develop a partnership with the University of Southern California to provide a Reading and Literacy Certificate program for families with students in early education.
Purpose and Rationale
Language is the architecture of life. While education might be the great equalizer, literacy is equity and social justice in their purest form. The greatest gift we can bestow on a child is the gift of literacy, so that he or she discovers meaning in life and seeks a virtuous and harmonious place in it. For it is impossible for a person, let alone a child, to live beyond his or her level of literacy.
Reading on grade-level by the end of third grade is one of the most critical milestones in education. Studies show that 74% of third graders who read poorly still struggle in ninth grade, and third grade reading scores can predict a student’s likelihood to graduate high school. Children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers. While those with the lowest reading scores account for only a third of students, this group accounts for more than 63% of all children who do not graduate from high school. Although a low level of literacy is not a direct determinant of a person’s probability to be convicted on criminal charges, correctional and judicial professionals have long recognized a connection between poor literacy, dropout rates, and crime. According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, 70% of all incarcerated adults cannot read at a fourth-grade level. Third grade students in Rialto USD have long been at risk of low academic reading scores as indicated in our District diagnostic data. The fall third grade reading scores for the last four years have shown little to no growth with the percentage of students showing proficient or advanced ranging from 32-35%, leaving the majority of students reading below grade level.
Rialto USD is looking for passionate and innovative partners that are interested in supporting the above foundational literacy initiatives. We have been fortunate for the past couple of years to have additional one time State funding that we have used to support long term solutions. However, in order to keep these pillar initiatives in place, we need financial support from corporations or private sponsors. We believe you are an ideal partner for Rialto USD teachers, families and students. We ask that you consider supporting our innovative literacy initiatives.
The Literacy Initiative is designed to provide all first through third-grade students with a strong foundation in reading, thereby ensuring that all students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. In order to accomplish this goal, teachers must have high efficacy in the foundational reading standards which build students’ phonemic awareness and phonics skills. Equally important parts of the program are collegial support through co-teaching, building of teacher capacity through a credentialing program, and families who are supported with knowledge and materials to create home reading routines. The following are the main Rialto USD pillars towards foundational literacy success:
- Reading Certificated Specialists in grades 1- 3 supporting every classroom daily
- Co-Teachers in first-grade classrooms
- Partnership with the University of Southern California to provide a Reading and Literacy Authorization Certification program for teachers
- Partner with USC to provide a literacy program for families