In February, my son excitedly announced that he and two other classmates were taking part in RAP. It turns out RAP is a Reading Acceleration Program for children struggling with reading. I looked at the letter from the school and was confused. In January, Jase had received an 89 in reading on his report card.
I thought his reading was okay. He has a tendency to guess what the words are rather than sounding them out. But as he is my first child and I don’t spend much time with other kids his age, I had no clue how he compared to his classmates. I’m all for extra reading time, but I also wondered what was he missing in class while he attended RAP.
His teacher had penned a comment on the letter that this could help Jase, and we would talk about it at the upcoming parent-teacher conference which was only two weeks away. In the meantime, he attended RAP for thirty minutes each morning and came home with daily homework. The work seemed very simple. He would read to me a book that they had already read in class. Then there are two other short exercises. The whole homework took about 10-15 minutes.
During his parent-teacher conference, his teacher went over the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) test results. She said his fluency (the speed in which he reads) was lower than it should be. At his grade level, he should be reading 60 words per minute. Jase was closer to 40. Now he has no problem comprehending what he is reading but she and the principal thought that RAP could help him improve his speed. His teacher said that his level was fine now for first grade, but she didn’t want him behind when he was in second grade where independent reading is expected.
As for what he was missing, she assured me he wasn’t missing anything important. It seems each first-grade teacher helps three students (from a different class) during this thirty-minute period. The rest of the class spends the time writing in their journals, reading or doing a work-sheet. In the case of the work sheet, Jase would have time later in the day to do his. The RAP program started in October so the teachers had the routine down, and the rest of the students were used to doing independent work during this time.
Jase will continue with RAP for the remainder of the year and will be reevaluated next year to see if he needs to continue with it. The best thing is Jase loves going to RAP. He doesn’t see it as something he needs extra help in. He sees it as something special he was chosen to do. And if it helps his reading, I am all for that.