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ERIC Number: EJ964168
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-1550-1175
Lessons Learned in Dreamland: How a Small Urban Charter School Overcame Start-Up Woes to Increase Reading Scores 28 Percent
Carter, Carolyn J.
Schools: Studies in Education, v8 n2 p285-310 Fall 2011
Charter school administrators weathered start-up woes, among them challenging students with unmet needs, verbal assaults, dwindling student enrollment, and a first-year budget deficit exceeding $200,000 to implement a reading improvement strategy that holds promise for helping at-risk students read better, a point particularly underscored considering the poor reading performance of far too many urban students. Despite alarming results that convey the need to rethink reading instruction in urban settings, missing in too many urban schools are effective research based practices that are embraced and delivered by urban teachers and that are understood, implemented, and supported by urban school administrators. This reality prompted a team of experienced school administrators to design a charter school rooted in reading research to test its impact on students' reading competence, in particular, that of students with poor reading skills. Based on cognitive science research trials, Reciprocal Teaching, a metacognitive developing strategy, teaches novice readers to mimic the behaviors of more expert readers and construct meaning from text better as a result. To test the impact of Reciprocal Teaching on the poor readers enrolled in a newly established elementary charter school, a learning intervention was applied at Dreamland Academy (Little Rock, AR) in 2010. Students in grades 4 and 5 used Reciprocal Teaching strategies within their English classroom daily for nine weeks in an effort to teach them to construct meaning from text. Following the intervention, Dreamland Academy's fourth-grade students outperformed all other students in Arkansas in terms of growth in literacy by increasing their performance by 28 percent on the 2010 Arkansas state assessment. (Contains 1 figure.)
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-1878; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 1; Grade 2; Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 5; Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas; Michigan