Fountas & Pinnell's Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) and the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) have been cited as essential reading and literacy intervention components of an initiative to improve student reading proficiency in Springfield, MA. The Turing The Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success initiative, which is led by the Cherish Every Child initiative of the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, is defined in "Reading Success by 4th Grade: A Blueprint for Springfield" (.pdf). The Springfield school district activities are just a part of a statewide initiative to improve children's language and literacy development in Massachusetts.
Beginning in the fall of 2009, the Benchmark Assessment System was implemented for students in grades K-5. Springfield Public Schools utilize the system because it "provides teachers with detailed, quantifiable assessment of reading comprehension so they can differentiate instruction in small guided reading groups."
While BAS will be used to help evaluate the reading proficiency and comprehension ability of all students, the LLI program will be used primarily with under-performing readers in grades K-2.
During the summer of 2009, Springfield Public Schools [SPS] received a Title One Redesign and Restructuring Grant: Innovation Through Summer Semester Program from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. SPS used the grant resources to pilot the Leveled Literacy Intervention strategy for under-performing children who were entering the first and second grades at the Frederick Harris School. After participating in jjst one half-hour per day of LLI for five weeks, 37% of students made gains of one reading level, 41% made gains of two or more reading levels and 19% maintained their reading level. As a result of these gains over a short period of time, the district added LLI as a Tier 2 intervention. Beginning in fall 2010, every elementary school will have one of each of the three leveles of LLI kits and a minimum of one staff member per building will have LLI training.
The Turing The Page initiative aims to "Increase the quality of children's language and reading environments across the many settings in which they are growing up, from birth to age 9." Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention and Benchmark Assessment System are sure to be an integral part of this important literacy education initiative for many years to come.