QSI curriculum and instruction is in the English language. A student’s ability to succeed relies on their reading and comprehension proficiency. For this reason, QSI focuses on language acquisition strategies that help improve student literacy, and provide students with the tools to succeed. English language learners have access to two unique programs at QSI, the Intensive English (IE) program and the Literacy Focus program, which focus on filling the literacy and language gaps in each individual student. Literacy is the foundation of a rigorous education at QSI.
One of the chief ways we strive to promote student literacy is through the Literacy Focus program. The Literacy Focus program is a mastery-based reading intervention program. Three days each week, students are provided with instruction that is designed to give them the phonics, fluency, and comprehension skills they need to read on grade level. It is our goal that within one year 100% of our students will be reading at or above grade level.
In order to make the program effective, we need to be sure that our students are accurately placed in Literacy Focus groups. For that reason, all of our students are assessed at the beginning of the year to determine which reading skills they already possess, and which skills they lack. The first test is a phonics test. In this test, students are assessed in their understanding of the letter–sound relationships in English. If they show mastery of all different letter–sound relationships in English, students are given a reading passage designed to assess their ability to read with fluency.
Following the assessments, students are placed in Literacy Focus groups. Each group is designed to focus on a specific literacy skill. Some groups work on phonics skills such as Digraphs or Short Vowels. Other groups work on reading fluency or reading comprehension. Since the students are placed in groups based on their performance on the phonics and fluency tests, we can be certain that students are accurately placed into Literacy Focus groups, and that every student in each group will benefit from working on the specific literacy skill.
In addition to accurate placement, effective instruction also requires excellent materials. QSI is determined to provide teachers and students with the materials and resources they need to succeed. In addition to the phonics and fluency books that teachers have in their classrooms, we also have subscriptions to a number of excellent educational websites that teachers can use to help improve student literacy. Two of those websites are ReadingA-Z.com and Razkids.com. These websites provide excellent phonics and fluency resources that teachers can use to work with students. Another exceptional website that teachers can use with their literacy focus groups is FCRR.org (Florida Center for Reading Research). This website provides hundreds of activities designed to promote student literacy. Finally, we also have a subscription to the website BrainPopEsl.com, which provides basic literacy instruction for our Intensive English students.
We are constantly working to make our Literacy Focus program more effective, and are confident that this program will result in a high level of literacy for each of our students.