Our mission is to maintain an environment that challenges all students to reach their potential as lifelong learners and responsible members of society. The reading department’s goal is to improve the reading skills of all students so they become independent readers.
Bethel Park School District offers a comprehensive reading program for learners of all ages and ability levels. Through participation in the courses offered, students can increase their abilities to read, analyze and interpret a variety of texts while improving their fluency and vocabulary acquisition as well. Refining communication skills including speaking and listening is also emphasized through each course.
Dr. Dee Stark
K-4 Reading Curriculum Facilitator
5-12 Reading Curriculum Facilitator
Elementary Reading/Language Arts:
The Integrated Language Arts encompass reading, composition, spelling, grammar, usage, speaking and listening. Students acquire competence through effective use of oral and written communication across the curriculum. The love of reading is nurtured through the use of authentic children's literature. Units of study are organized thematically. Instruction in phonics and other traditionally successful reading and language arts processes are an integral part of the program. Writing portfolios, skills tests and other forms of performance assessment are employed to measure progress. Computer assisted instruction in the school computer laboratories strengthens communication skills.
Middle School Reading:
Middle School reading is taught in addition to the Language Arts courses at this level. The classes are taught using a variety of materials and methods with a focus on the Pennsylvania content reading standards and are designed to encourage students to read critically, effectively, and fluently, and to maintain these skills as a life-long reader.
The Bethel Park School District’s fifth grade reading curriculum is designed to improve the overall reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills of each student. This course is intended to improve the student’s reading skills in all subject areas and enable each student to become an independent reader and maintain the skills necessary to be a life-long reader. The reading course will encourage students to read critically, effectively, and fluently in fiction, nonfiction, and poetic forms. The course encompasses the following skills: comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency.
6th Grade Developmental Reading is a full year required class. It is designed to help students improve their reading skills in order to meet state proficiency standards for reading. The course covers basic knowledge and skills in the following areas: continuous study habits, study skills using a content area textbook, vocabulary and comprehension, fluency, independent reading, novels, research, storytelling, and nonfiction selections.
Reading Support 5 and 6:
The Bethel Park School District’s fifth and sixth grade reading support curricula are designed to improve struggling readers’ phonemic awareness, phonics/decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. Through modeled and independent practice, the reading support courses will fill in achievement gaps and move forward at an appropriate pace while enhancing self-esteem and motivation.
Seventh Grade Developmental Reading is a full year required class. It is designed to help students improve their reading skills in order to meet state proficiency standards for reading. The course covers basic knowledge and skills in the following areas: continuous study habits, study skills using a content area textbook, study skills using learning styles, test taking skills, vocabulary and comprehension, independent reading, novel reading, informational texts, research, career awareness, and interdisciplinary units.
Based on a hierarchy of skills and knowledge developed by the ELA Curriculum Committee, the eighth grade developmental reading curriculum spans a wide array of concepts and skills that encompass, but are not limited to, those of the Pennsylvania Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. Concepts and skills are integrated and spiraled throughout units of study rather than presented in discrete units. Using a textbook, novel, and multi-media approach, instructors assure that students repeatedly practice concepts and skills. This curriculum primarily focuses on providing specific strategies for developing and improving the student’s ability to read fiction, non-fiction, and informational texts, with applications to all other curricular areas as well as their own independent reading. Specific areas of focus are improving comprehension, vocabulary, and speaking and listening skills, as well as developing the student’s ability to understand and respond to open-ended questions, orally and in writing.
The 8th grade developmental reading program is a one semester required class for all students, except for those in gifted education.
Reading Support 7 and 8:
The seventh and eighth grade reading support programs are a full year required class for students scoring at the Below Basic or Basic levels on the Pennsylvania State System Assessment (PSSA). These classes feature an individualized program that focuses on the unique reading needs of each learner. The courses cover all of the key components of reading, such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, so as to improve reading skills and meet or optimistically exceed state proficiency standards.
High School Reading:
Students who do not meet grade level expectations in the area of reading will be required to enroll in a reading support course. This will be determined by the 4Sight and Pennsylvania State System Assessment (PSSA). Parents are advised that the School Board’s reading requirement may necessitate amending a student’s program of studies. Therefore, please note that changing a student’s schedule may require a loss of a study hall or another elective course.
A course for students who do meet grade level expectations in reading can enroll in a reading class entitled, Speed Reading/Literacy Studies to further enhance his/her reading skills.
Speed Reading/ Literacy Studies
Semester Course – ½ Credit
This one-semester, computer-enhanced reading course is designed for high-achieving and/or college-bound students who wish to develop and practice advanced reading, writing, and study skills. Major portions of this course are dedicated to advancing students’ reading abilities in the areas of comprehension, vocabulary, study skills, research, and problem solving. Analytical and critical thinking skills are emphasized to prepare students for the demands of advanced high school and college courses. An additional component of this course is speed reading, with the goal of doubling a student’s reading speed with at least 80% comprehension.
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Standardized reading scores
This full-year, computer-enhanced reading course is an intensive reading intervention program designed to meet the needs of students whose reading achievement is below the proficient level. The program, led by the certified reading specialists, directly addresses individual needs through adaptive and instructional software, high-interest literature, and direct instruction in reading and writing skills. It is required for all students who meet the criteria of the Bethel Park School Board resolution.
Literacy for Mastery
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
This computer-enhanced reading course offers a full year of developmental reading, writing, and study instruction which is directly transferable to content area classes. This course addresses reading comprehension, vocabulary, test taking, and study skills. The instructional needs of the students are determined through formal and informal evaluations. One goal of this instruction is to increase the students’ reading abilities to a point beyond grade level. An additional goal is to instill a lifetime habit of reading for information and pleasure.