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District partnership boosts reading instruction for young students

Staff member helping studentFour hundred kindergarten and first grade students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are receiving extra support to help them exceed grade-level reading proficiency. The students are bolstering their reading skills through a partnership between the district, the Once Early-Reading Program and Stanford University, which is running a randomized controlled trial on high-dosage reading tutoring for kindergartners for the 2023-24 school year.

Students at 16 CMS schools are receiving 15 minutes per day of one-on-one reading tutoring, with a focus on phonemic and phonological awareness, word reading, story reading and writing. Their tutors are CMS teacher assistants, who received training, scripted instructional materials and weekly video coaching from the Once program team. The program is being used in the following schools:

  • Croft Community School

  • Crown Point Elementary School

  • Druid Hills Academy

  • Governors Village STEM Academy

  • Grove Park Elementary School

  • Lansdowne Elementary School

  • Lebanon Road Elementary School

  • Mint Hill Elementary School

  • Newell Elementary School

  • Oakdale Elementary School

  • River Oaks Academy

  • Stoney Creek Elementary School

  • Thomasboro Academy

  • University Park Creative Arts Elementary School

  • Westerly Hills Academy

  • Winget Park Elementary School

The Once program is part of a research study by Stanford University’s National Student Support Accelerator. The Once curriculum consists of 200 cycles, or spiraling lessons, each with fewer than 10 tasks. All students start with the first cycle, regardless of their prior knowledge, and proceed at their own pace. Students who reach Cycle 84 will be reading on a first-grade level, while those who reach Cycle 166 will be reading on a second-grade level.