Our reading improvement program (also known as Benchmarks) is a comprehensive curriculum stemming from the belief that the arts are an invaluable learning tool.
Delivered by trained teachers and designed to rapidly advance the reading skills of their prekindergarten through 1st grade students, Benchmarks is backed by the most current research and independent studies, utilizing proven curriculum, methodology, and the integration of music and drama.
Our Benchmarks program is firmly rooted in our theory of change: all students can learn to read through three essential elements of instruction:
The Necessary Amount of Instructional Time for Each Student
Students who are below their benchmark reading level need additional instructional time to catch up. Benchmarks’ 32-week timetable combines both whole and small group lessons, the latter of which allows teachers to provide additional instruction tailored for struggling students each school day. Regular assessments (five times per year) determine each child’s skill acquisition, so adjustments can be made to the instructional time each child receives.
The Right Content to Help Students Read
Lesson content is aligned with the research-based recommendations of the National Reading Panel. This alignment is reflected in the Benchmarks Teacher’s Manual, the books provided for students, and all of the program materials used every day in the classroom. The materials contain a wide variety of content to enable teachers to provide differentiated instruction that has the potential to reach every kind of learner.
The Most Engaging Teaching Methods
Especially at the ages we work with, students learn better when they are actively engaged and paying attention. Music and drama-based whole group lessons engage young students physically, kinesthetically, and imaginatively, stimulating their minds on different levels, leveraging their natural love for the arts, and most importantly, accelerating their learning of literacy skills.
In addition to offering these programs in English, we also offer them in Spanish!
We’ve found that it isn’t enough to engage English Language Learners in literacy programs geared toward native English speakers. Research from the National Literacy Panel provides clear evidence that first-language literacy is foundational to English-language literacy.