Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Local Reading Specialist sharing her lessons across the nation

Tiffany West, Reading Specialist and Literacy Lab coordinator for Forest Hills Elementary School sits at her dining room table preparing guided leveled reading lessons to email to her students during this period of distance learning. Photo by Christie Slocum

A local Reading Specialist and Literacy Lab coordinator has gone viral with her guided leveled reading lessons and she says she is just “doing her job”. When Colleton County School District received the word they would be closing like all the districts across the state, many teachers did not know how they would manage to keep reaching their students. Tiffany West chose to embrace distance learning from the word go. Like all of her coworkers, West felt very worried for her students as she already works with students that struggle with reading.
The Literacy Lab was created by Dr. Franklin Foster, former Superintendent of the Colleton County School District, as part of a three-year plan for schools that were considered a priority school. According to the South Carolina Department of Education under the, Every Student Succeeds Act, states must identify schools that meet certain criteria that classify them as schools in need of improvement. The South Carolina Department of Education has developed a South Carolina School Improvement Designation document explaining the criteria, identifications, and support these schools receive. That information can be found at www.ed.sc.gov. Colleton County currently has four schools that are considered priority schools and they are Bells Elementary, Forest Hills Elementary, Hendersonville Elementary and Colleton County Middle School.
On a typical day, West will see around 50 students from first and second grade at Forest Hills Elementary. She is helping these students get caught up to their grade level for reading before they reach third grade and must begin taking the state achievement test. She was worried without seeing these kids face to face they may experience what many educators are referring to as the COVID slide. She quickly decided she would continue to do guided reading lessons for eight different levels and email them to her students. She also had a few of her coworkers ask her if she could share her lessons with them so they could also help some students that they felt could benefit from the extra help. She quickly realized she had several friends that were interested in her lessons so she decided to make them available online through a Google platform. Teachers across the district have been sharing them with their students and friends which has caused these lessons to go viral. West prepares four lessons on Monday and four lessons on Tuesday to total the eight levels she is covering. One the first day of the lesson, the student will read a story and work on a phonics lesson. On the second day, the student will review read and complete a writing activity that goes along with the book. West had no idea so many educators would enjoy sharing her lessons with their students but is excited she can help so many coworkers and students across the nation. She plans to continue her lessons through May 28th and hopes each student will continue to learn through the last day of learning which she understands to be May 28th. She is also providing a daily story on her YouTube channel found under her name. Students can listen as West reads a story. She provides the Accelerated Reader quiz number and students can log on to their AR account and take the reading quiz. She hopes her efforts will result in students not falling further behind since they are not able to meet face to face during this time.
West has been employed by the Colleton County School District for 13 years. During those years she has taught kindergarten, first grade and second grade. She also served as the reading interventionist at Northside Elementary School before working in the Literacy Lab at Forest Hills Elementary School. She has a Reading Add on in addition to her teaching certificate that she earned through the South Carolina State Department of Education. She is currently also working on her Master’s in Administration through Capella University.

Christie Slocum (595 Posts)