Why I've Seen Massive Early Literacy Gains in My Classroom

Early Childhood Education, Legislation, Literacy | 02/11/2022

Megan Bobroske
2nd Grade Teacher

The Senate Education Committee heard Senate Bill 22-004, which will require principals to be trained in the science of reading, was passed unanimously by the Senate Education Committee and now will be heard in the Appropriations Committee. During the hearing educators shared their passion for using scientifically based approaches to teaching students to read. We are excited to share their testimony in support of the science of reading and Senate Bill 22-004. 

Thank you Madame Chair, Madame Vice Chair and Members of the Committee. My name is Megan Bobroske. I have been a 2nd Grade teacher for 8 years and am also the early literacy lead at Bradley International School in Denver. 

Today I am testifying in favor of Senate Bill 4 which will have principals and administrators of K-3 teachers trained in the Science of Reading. 

To highlight the importance of being trained in the Science of Reading, I would like to share with the committee the impact it has had in my classroom. A little over a year ago, I began the Science of Reading training through the Colorado Department of Education. At the time, I was struggling to help my second graders with phonics and phonemic awareness and was trying a variety of things, hoping something would stick. As I progressed through and completed my training, I was enlightened to the power of the Science of Reading and finally understood how to support my students in their reading progression.

I am fortunate enough to have a principal and work in a district who support the Science of Reading. My school is piloting a Science of Reading curriculum this year. The gains our students are making is nothing like we have ever seen before - COVID or not. 

These students have had a disrupted educational career because of COVID and therefore, have gaps in their learning. Because the Science of Reading is explicit, systematic and based in neuroscience, the gaps and holes we were seeing were filled in quickly. Now, my students feel empowered because they are making the proper neuroconnections needed to read, they are learning the explicit reading code, and are making leaps and bounds in their reading. They are even reading ahead in our curriculum’s decodable texts because they know they have the ability to successfully read the stories. 

The Science of Reading has also given me confidence as an educator in reading instruction. I know what I am doing is based on decades of research and it works. I now understand how the brain learns to read - how it encodes and decodes - what is developmentally appropriate pedagogy for my students and if there is a breakdown, how to properly address that and help the brain make the connection it needs in order to understand. 

When we took our mid-year reading assessment this January, my class had made 90% of their yearly growth - meaning my students had made almost an entire year’s growth in 5 months. I have never seen growth like this before - even before COVID. The Science of Reading helped make that happen. . 

Principals and administrators need to be aware and knowledgeable in best practices in literacy instruction, in order to support, mentor, lead, and coach their teachers well. They need to understand the developing brain’s learning progression with sounds, letters, and words. They need to know best practices in reading instruction to fully support their teachers’ development and be able to discern if the curriculum their school uses is Science of Reading based or not.

Teachers are working hard to apply Science of Reading in their classrooms. Having administrators and principals trained in Science of Reading as well creates a collaborative, supportive school environment where readers thrive.

Thank you all for your service to education in Colorado. I respectfully ask you to vote yes on Senate Bill 4. Thank you.

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