Local Literacy Plan

Reading Well by Third Grade

June 2012

The purpose of this document is to share current practice of the Hibbing School District and how the district plans to address the requirements of literacy for grades K-3.

State Statute

It is written in MN Statute 120B.12 that a school district must adopt a local literacy plan to have every child reading at or above grade level no later than the end of grade 3.  This legislation is also referred to as “Reading Well by Third Grade.”   The local literacy plan must also include “a process to assess students’ level of reading proficiency, notify and involve parents, intervene with students who are not reading at or above grade level, and identify and meet staff development needs.  The district must post its literacy plan on the official school district Web site.”

Minnesota Department of Education

According to the MN Dept. of Education, “Reading well by third grade is one of many developmental milestones in a child’s educational experience.  Literacy development starts at an early age and is the basis for all academic success.  Reading well by grade three ensures that students have a solid foundation of literacy skills to continue to expand their understandings of what they read, make meaning, and transfer that learning across all subject areas.  Instruction that provides the basis for all students to read well by third grade and beyond will help close the achievement gap and ensure that all students are ready for the demands of college and the workplace. . . .”

Hibbing Elementary Schools

In the Hibbing School District there are three elementary buildings.  The Greenhaven and Washington Schools include grades kindergarten through grade 2.  The Lincoln School has grades 3 through 6.  In April 2012, the enrollments at the schools were:  Greenhaven School at 270, Washington School at 290, and the Lincoln School at 671.  Third grade enrollment at the Lincoln School was 164.  The kindergarten students attend school all day three days a week plus an additional eight or nine days throughout the school year that are added during shorter school weeks.  The school district’s Early Childhood Program is housed at the Greenhaven Elementary School.  Their program uses the reading series, StoryTown, the same series that is used by the K-6 teachers.  Head Start is at the Washington School.

Hibbing School District Reading Instruction

StoryTown, the core reading instruction for grades K-6, is a research based reading program.  Through this program, teachers are given opportunities to differentiate instruction for the range of reading levels within their classrooms.  The reading series is based on a balanced literacy model that incorporates shared reading, guided reading and independent reading, as well as focused skill and strategy instruction.  Instruction includes the critical components of reading skills described in the next section.

The Five Critical Components of Reading Skills

The National Reading Panel has identified five critical components of reading skills that children must master as they progress from non-readers in kindergarten to proficient readers at the end of third grade.  They are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.  

  • Phonemic awareness – The ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words.
  • Phonics – Relationship between a specific letter and its sound – as it relates to the written word (decoding-blending and segmenting.)
  • Fluency – Ability to read text accurately and smoothly.
  • Vocabulary – Understanding and making connections between words on the page corresponding to the spoken word.
  • Reading Comprehension – The level of understanding of a text.

Each of Hibbing Elementary School’s comprehensive reading assessment plans will monitor the development of all of the components in a manner appropriate to each grade level.

Areas of Assessment

Assessments of student growth in letter identification, phonemic awareness, phonics, and vocabulary.

First Grade
Assessments of student growth in phonemic awareness (to identify struggling students), phonics, oral reading fluency (read text with accuracy), vocabulary (oral language), and reading comprehension (end of school year).

Second Grade
Assessments of student growth in phonics (decoding skills – especially multi-syllable words), oral reading fluency (read text with accuracy), vocabulary (oral language – high frequency words), and reading comprehension.

Third Grade
Assessments of student growth in oral reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Assessments and Interventions

One measure of assessment used by Hibbing K-3 teachers is the Northwest Evaluation Assessment (NWEA.)  The NWEA computerized Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests provide teachers, students, and parents with an accurate assessment of a student’s ability, accurately measuring what a child knows and needs to know. All kindergarten through grade 3 teachers will utilize data generated from NWEA fall testing.  Informed decisions will be made on what instructional strategies to use and implement.
Strategies will be scientifically research based including balanced literacy and differentiated instruction that will improve academic achievement.  This will better ensure that students will meet their individual target goals by winter or spring of 2013 and are proficient by the spring of 2013. Following the fall assessment, each student’s test data will be analyzed to determine interventions needed.  Students will receive needed classroom interventions.  In addition, K-3 classroom and Title 1 teachers will identify students who are performing below the Fall NWEA target score.  These students may be eligible for Title 1 or Special Education services.  Through Title 1, Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) is available.  Parents of students who qualify for these services will be contacted either by phone, mail, or conferences.  Progress updates will take place throughout the school year.

The program Homework Helper is available at the three elementary schools.  This program held during the noon hour gives students additional assistance with their daily work.

Professional Development

Grade level meetings were held throughout the 2011-2012 school year to adjust the curriculum to the Minnesota English Language Arts (ELA) Standards.  Horizontal and vertical curriculum committees will meet to continue to align and implement the ELA Standards.

The K-2 School Improvement Team developed Reading Curriculum Guides and Common Assessment Reading Manuals for grades K-2.  Specialists, Special Education teachers, and Title 1 teachers also have a copy of the Reading Curriculum Guides.  Copies are also available in the Greenhaven and Washington School libraries Professional Resource Area.

The Washington School Title 1 teachers received training in Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) in September 2011 and additional training in December 2011.  
LLI was implemented at the Washington School at the first grade level in October 2011.  The Greenhaven Title 1 teachers received training in January and April 2012.  LLI was implemented at the Greenhaven School in February 2012 at grades 1 and 2.

K-2 teachers received Balanced Literacy training from a reading specialist in January 2012.  Grade 3 had similar training from a reading specialist in October.  First grade teachers received additional training in April 2012.  The second grade teachers participate in a regional reading cohort.  Two of the teachers hosted a cohort meeting at their school.  Participants were able to observe implementation of balanced literacy strategies in the classroom.  Four second grade teachers and a fifth grade teacher will receive additional training at a summer workshop in July 2012.     

All K-6 teachers will be trained during the 2012-2013 school year in utilizing Professional Learning Communities to study student data and reading strategies.  K-2 grade level classroom teachers will meet throughout each school year to discuss student results from their common assessments. Staff will continue to explore scientifically research based reading strategies including balanced literacy and differentiated instruction to improve academic achievement.

Parent Connection

Parent involvement begins before the first day of the new school year.  Parents/guardians and students are able to attend the annual Hibbing School District Visitation Day.  This is an opportunity for students to come to school with a parent or guardian to meet their teacher to learn what will be expected of students and parents for the coming school year.  Students and parents can also ask any questions they may have.  Title 1 holds an Open House during Visitation Day to inform parents about the Title 1 program and to distribute relevant resources to use with their child.

K-6 classroom teachers continue communication with parents and guardians during the school year through classroom newsletters, phone calls, letters, emails, and conferences.  Prior to the NWEA testing in the fall, winter, and spring, K-2 parents receive notification of the upcoming testing.  During conferences that are held in the fall and spring, results of the NWEA test data are shared with the K-2 parents.  Parents of K-3 students who are not reading at their grade level or above will receive a letter with their child’s last report card of the school year.  The letter includes proficiency scores, interventions and instructional supports available during the school year, and suggestions of activities that parents can use at home.

Title 1 Night is held during the school year.  Learning strategies for parents to use with their child are given during this event.  Another program through Title 1 is the Muffin Morning held at the Greenhaven and Washington Schools twice a year.  Before the school day, Title 1 students attend Muffin Morning with their parents or guardian and receive a free book.  Resources for parents to use with their child are available at the Muffin Mornings.

All three elementary schools have a part-time Parent Volunteer Coordinator.  In collaboration with other district and school-wide activities, the Coordinators help increase involvement of parents and guardians in the success of their students, specifically those who qualify for Title 1 services.  The Parent Volunteer Coordinators help initiate family programs and send announcements of activities to homes through the schools’ Friday folders.


Hibbing School District Mission
As the district implements its local literacy plan, the district will continue to follow its mission.

Our Mission
Hibbing Public Schools will provide all students with a quality education designed to help them develop their fullest potential.  We will accomplish the Mission with

  • open and consistent communication among students, parents, staff and community.
  • highly skilled and motivated staff.
  • a safe and positive environment.
  • trust and respect among students, parents, staff and community.
  • successful, effective partnerships.
  • fair and equitable policies and procedures.

Contact Us

Lincoln Elementary School
1114 East 23rd Street
Hibbing, MN 55746

Comments or questions?

Office Phone: (218) 208-0842
Principal: Mr. Robert Bestul
Hibbing Public Schools,
Celebrating Success!