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February 2018

Rose Institute for Learning & Literacy Mentors Westchester Teachers

With illiteracy levels in New York State rising, effective reading instruction has never been more critical. New York State ELA results for 2017 reveal a 40% proficiency rate in the state and a 47% proficiency rate in grades 3-8 in Westchester County. The Nation’s Report Card (2015) reported a 36% proficiency rate among third graders and a 34% proficiency rate among eighth graders. Further analysis of these scores revealed no significant difference among third graders compared to the 2013 scores and lower scores for most at Grade 8. One effective solution to the problem lies in effective teacher training using a method of explicit reading instruction so that K-2 teachers acquire a deep, comprehensive understanding of how the English language works.


 The Rose Institute for Learning and Literacy at Manhattanville College in Purchase, is advancing foundational literacy skills of early readers by improving the instructional expertise of their teachers. Recognizing the complexity of both the English language and the reading process, the Institute provides a combination of coursework and in-school mentoring to enable teachers to teach their students how to read, write, spell, and comprehend.


Teachers are trained to use a multisensory, phonics-based approach in moving children quickly along the continuum of reading development. The ultimate goal is automaticity in word recognition so that readers can then focus on the primary purpose for reading—comprehension and the creation of new knowledge. The Rose Institute program provides in-school mentoring of teachers to provide critical feedback by a seasoned phonics instructor, allowing teachers to receive training and guidance throughout their studies.


 Mentors from the Institute meet individually with teachers 30 times a year to customize the program to each teacher’s class. Teachers watch mentors model lessons and exercises while the teacher observes and later structures classroom lessons, needing less and less coaching as time goes by.


 Feedback from teachers participating in the program is equally positive. “I know where my kids were and where they moved to. I have never seen such big gains,” said Sue Mercatante, Kindergarten teacher, Columbus Elementary School, New Rochelle. “I can always go back to what I’ve learned here. I wish I had this training when I taught fifth grade for 16 years. My students would have benefited from it then.”


As the Rose Institute for Learning and Literacy approaches its fifth year of offering this program in schools throughout the region, there have been impressive findings in the effectiveness of the program. K-3 students who received instruction with this method showed significant growth from pre-test (in September) to post-test (in May) in letter knowledge, word reading, comprehension, and spelling.


Manhattanville College alumna Sandra Priest Rose (class of 1973) helped establish the Rose Institute for Learning and Literacy at the School of Education at Manhattanville College in 2013. Mrs. Rose was a founder, in 1981, of the seminal, not-for-profit literacy organization, Reading Reform Foundation of New York. In 2014, teachers began training at the Institute.


 "What makes Manhattanville’s Rose Institute valuable is that it does exactly what the late Sandra Priest Rose promised – trains teachers to successfully teach reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension to K-2 students so that by the time students enter the third grade, there is fluency and comfort around the mechanics of these four core elements. These elements shape one’s ability to read and communicate successfully as students and learners,” explained Shelley B. Wepner, Ed.D., Dean and Professor, School of Education, Manhattanville College..


The Rose Institute for Learning and Literacy at Manhattanviille College offers a 13-credit graduate certificate program designed primarily for Early Childhood, Childhood, Literacy and/or Special Educators. To participate in this program, teachers take a 37.5 hour reading methodology course followed by an individualized mentoring component within their own classrooms for an entire year.


Visit https://www.mville.edu/programs/rose-institute-learning-and-literacy for more information.