RCS to implement Reading 3D

Elementary schools in Rutherford County will begin using Reading 3D, an observational reading assessment software, this year.
Oct. 21, 2012 @ 06:53 AM

FOREST CITY — Classrooms in Rutherford County are about to get a boost in reading technology.

Kindergarten through third grade teachers in Rutherford County Schools will begin training with mCLASS: Reading 3D, an observational reading assessment software, this month.

"Our benchmark window for having all of our teachers set up with this program is January. We are hoping to get them set up this month, so that they can start practicing with the technology," said Stephen Helton, director of elementary education. "It isn't required until next year, so our teachers are getting an early start."

According to the mCLASS website, it was recently announced that the General Assembly budget includes funding to expand Reading 3D state-wide. It was highly recommended that schools implement the program beginning in the 2013-14 school year. mCLASS, or mobile classroom, is a tool that ensures all students receive appropriate instruction and support and allows educators to quickly recognize unsuccessful interventions and change course with more effective strategies.

Rutherfordton Elementary School piloted the project, by beginning to use Reading 3D in their classrooms about two years ago.

"We wanted to start using this technology in our schools before we found out that it would be funded by the state. We had already started planning for how we could fit it into our budget," Helton said. "We were trying to move forward with it, and Rutherfordton Elementary jumped on board to pilot it for us."

Reading 3D, which will be used with teacher iPads, is a validated, research-based assessment with quick indicators of early skill development and deeper observations of student interaction with authentic text.

The teachers have the student read out loud, and the iPad records it. The Reading 3D program then gives the teacher an assessment of the student's reading abilities.

"When I log on, it tells me exactly what I need to do with that particular child," said Sandra Nanney, first grade teacher at Rutherfordton Elementary School. "It also helps group the children. That way, we can focus on what we need to reinforce."

Other Rutherfordton teachers agree that the program has been helpful in their classrooms.

"I think it targets students where they are and then you know what to do for them to help. Not all children learn at the same level," said third grade teacher Lesa Lane. "You provide them with the skills and technology while reading, and they learn to build and self improve. It also has home connections, which is a letter that goes home to the parents, and shows them what they can work on to help their child."

Rutherfordton Principal Kelly Sisk says that using this technology in her school has been very effective.

"Reading 3D has become an amazing tool for my teachers. They are able to assess the stages of students' individual reading development using up to date technology. After reviewing the analysis, teachers are able to use instructional resources to differentiate their instruction to meet each student's individual needs," Sisk said. "As the principal, I have access to multiple reports to study school growth. We are very fortunate to have piloted the program and are looking forward to continuing to utilize the results to impact instruction and achievement in a positive manner."

Helton is also very pleased that the program will be implemented in all of the schools.

"With our Going G.L.O.B.A.L. initiative, we saw this as a great use of technology for progress monitoring," Helton said. "It is the perfect marriage of technology with instruction. We are already trying to find ways to move it forward."

For more information about mClass: Reading 3D, you can visit www.wirelessgeneration.com.