By: Sr. Bernadette McManigal
The National Institute for Literacy emphasizes that “Early childhood through third grade is a critical time for beginning readers. From Kindergarten through 3rd grade, children are taught the skills that together enable them to understand and find meaning in what they read and take advantage of the learning opportunities in fourth grade and beyond.”
Here in the Diocese of Arlington, our schools have responded to the crucial need for early development of reading skills. Let me share one example:
Superkids! That is what the primary students at Saint Rita School in Alexandria call themselves. The Superkids reading program, produced by Rowland Publishing Company, has been implemented with much success in kindergarten and first and second grades.
First published in 1978 and recently revised in 2003, this cheerfully designed program draws from teaching experience and scientific research to present a phonics-based curriculum with integrated reading, spelling, writing, listening and speaking. Geared toward kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade pupils, Superkids takes into consideration the different interests of each student.
Principal Mary Pat Schlickenmaier commented that she jumped at the chance to use the program when she saw that it was a well-developed, high-quality reading program with an emphasis on phonics. A donor interested in promoting excellent Catholic education, especially for minority students, began funding the program at Saint Rita in the 2009-2010 academic year.
I hope you are as excited as I am to see the outcome of the Superkids Reading Program at Saint Rita School. Superkids is just one of many ways that schools in the Diocese of Arlington foster essential reading skills.