At a glance

  • The West Warwick Public School System serves five schools across the district
  • With a 1:1 device program for all 3,489 K-12 students
  • Using Fluency Tutor to transform reading assessment for all students
  • Helping struggling readers reach their full potential
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West Warwick schools use Fluency Tutor to support struggling readers

West Warwick schools use Fluency Tutor to support struggling readers

West Warwick is a small town in Kent County, Rhode Island with a big population. The West Warwick Public School System serves the town and includes 3 elementary schools, a middle school and West Warwick High School. 

The school system’s incredible commitment to roll out a 1:1 device program has provided each of the 3,489 K-12 students with their own individual Chromebook. This was an important step in providing access to technology within the district. 

Students are able to use these Chromebooks alongside Google Classroom to engage with a wide range of additional learning resources, reducing any inequalities in educational outcomes. 

After reaching their 1:1 goal, Read&Write was the first tool the district purchased for their domain. This relationship with Texthelp led to the adoption of additional solutions utilized in the district today. Fluency Tutor for Google™ and WriQ®, which both integrate seamlessly with Google Classroom, further complemented the existing teaching strategies at West Warwick. 

The use of these tools is championed by Jim Monti, Director of Educational Reform, Compliance and Technology:

“These tools are really important pieces in our local assessment system. They’re the things that are going to help drive what we're doing with our students and they'll be the tools that we use when we start talking to teachers about what they need in terms of professional development as well.”

Helping struggling readers reach their potential

Jim quickly recognized that these tools could be used to reach students who are struggling with literacy, noting that they are “not just for the 24% of our kids who are special education students” but for those who still have unfinished learning due to time and resource constraints as well. 

Using Fluency Tutor to record the reading of assigned passages using a laptop, Chromebook or tablet, helps students to become more engaged and confident readers. 

West Warwick’s 1:1 initiative in combination with Fluency Tutor for Google enables their students to use their Chromebooks to practice reading at their own pace in the comfort of their home, away from the stresses and distractions of the classroom. 

Fluency Tutor’s text-to-speech and picture dictionary tools also give students extra learning support and the autonomy to progress their reading achievement, as some may be too shy or embarrassed to ask for help when they’re struggling. 

Busy teachers at West Warwick also save valuable time as they can listen to the recording when it best suits them and instead focus on “looking at performance, because that's what matters most.” 

These factors led to Fluency Tutor playing a key role in progress monitoring at West Warwick as teachers were able to quickly identify struggling readers and put interventions in place to help the student achieve their next step in learning without falling further behind. 

Working with teachers to gain support was essential for district leaders in changing how reading fluency is developed within the district. Holding regular protocol meetings throughout the school year where they sit together as professionals was central to this success. Listening to student reading together and reviewing the data produced by Fluency Tutor has helped further reinforce the value to all of making the process digital within the district. 

Assessing students as readers, not numbers 

Fluency Tutor has since become embedded across all aspects of teaching & learning at West Warwick, beyond the assignment of reading passages. It’s being used as an important benchmarking and assessment tool, which allows teachers to talk about students as readers and not simply numbers. Jim comments that, “In the past, we were almost talking about kids as if they were a level and we weren't talking about them as readers and what they could do as readers.”

Jim’s main goal was to use Fluency Tutor to help overcome this and gain “some really phenomenal information that would help us for MTSS purposes. It would help us for special education placement and it would help us with identifying the need for reading intervention. Because we'd be able to take all of these other data points that we have regarding our students and look at their performance.”

Integrating Fluency Tutor’s rich data set with their student information system, has provided teachers with a full oversight of a students’ progress, learning interventions, general attendance etc. in one central place. Allowing West Warwick “to dig deeper into what our kids are doing as real readers and real writers, which we love,” adds Jim.

Looking ahead with WriQ

West Warwick now has plans to use Texthelp’s writing achievement tool, WriQ to change how students are viewed and assessed as writers. In the same way that Fluency Tutor has transformed reading across all grade levels. “We were so excited that WriQ came up, because this is all about student performance as well. It's what kids do as writers. And now that we can start incorporating our own rubrics into that, it’s really put a fire under us.” 

“We're really excited that we've been able to partner with Texthelp to really use these tools to help drive some of the teaching and learning that's taking place in our district.”