Literacy and Math Support

  • Our literacy and/or math support is designed to provide intervention with the reading and math processes for students in need of additional support. This more specialized instruction is delivered during POLAR Time in small-group instruction focused on reading and math strategies and thinking processes. The goal is to accelerate each child's progress in order to become an independent reader and mathematician.

    Eligible Schools

    Jackson Local Schools literacy and/or math support is jointly funded by local and federal funds. The federal funds come from Title I. Not all of Jackson’s schools qualify for these funds. Selection of schools within the district is determined on the basis of the number of students receiving free or reduced-priced lunches. This year the Title I schools are Amherst and Lake Cable Elementary. In all buildings, additional support is provided by local funds.


    Each grade level team is made up of teachers that have received additional training in reading, math or gifted education.  Literacy and/or math support is provided by classroom teachers, full time reading teachers and part-time tutors during POLAR Time.   

    Most others hold a master's degree and/or other specialist degrees in reading or math instruction or gifted education.  The district holds ongoing professional development utilizing release days (half day and full day), professional learning communities (PLCs), building leadership team (BLT) meetings, waiver days, online learning modules, and summer days.

    POLAR Time

    POLAR Time stands for Purposeful, Organized, Learning, and Review Time.  This is a 30 minute period when there is no new instruction and it allows teachers to intervene in areas of need.  We offer two POLAR Time periods - one for literacy and the other for math.

    Selection Criteria

    Students are selected for participation in the literacy and/or math support on the basis of multi-criteria. Our goal is that all students qualifying will be served in a capacity appropriate to the student’s needs.  

    Jackson Local Schools does screening at the beginning of the school year and sometimes repeats it two to three times throughout the school year to identify or predict students who may be at risk for poor learning outcomes. The primary goal of screening is to accurately identify students who are at risk for poor learning outcomes. 

    Students are selected for participation in the literacy and/or math support on the basis of multiple criteria. Our goal is that all students qualifying will be served in a capacity appropriate to the student’s needs.  

    At Jackson, the following reading diagnostics are given to all students. Each diagnostic assessment has a benchmark score.

     Assessment Chart

    Grade-level and/or building-level teams review the results of universal screening (tier 1 dyslexia screening) to identify students who are at risk. Because universal screening assessments (tier 1) are brief indicators, they often do not provide sufficient detail about a student’s skills to facilitate instructional planning. Intervention-based diagnostic assessments (tier 2 dyslexia screening) are administered to understand the specific skills in which a student needs instructional support. 

    The following tier 2 screeners are given as determined by the grade level and/or building level team. Intervention-based diagnostic assessments (tier 2 dyslexia screening) identify where each student is on an instructional continuum and specifies next steps for instruction. Reading interventions are determined using this information.

    • Heggerty Diagnostic Assessments

    • Fundations Unit Assessment

    • Sonday Placement Test

    • CORE Phonics survey

    • Observation Survey

    Reading Development

    Learning to read is complex and made up of major concepts. The essential early literacy and reading skills help children develop as readers. These skills are:

    • Print awareness and phonemic awareness

    • Alphabetic principle and phonics

    • Accuracy and fluency with connected text

    • Vocabulary and oral language

    • Comprehension


    As a child grows older and demonstrates the key stages of literacy development, they will improve their reading and writing ability. Each stage of literacy development helps the child move forward and become a stronger student. 

    Beginning readers learn the following foundational skills

    • Letter names and sounds

    • Letter formation

    • Phonemic awareness

    • Concepts of print

    • How to preview and discuss a book


    Emergent readers:

    • Know all letters and sounds

    • Match one-to-one

    • Control left to right directionality

    • Use meaning, structure, and initial letters for figuring out unknown words

    • Form letters correctly

    • Hear and record consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) sounds in sequence

    • Monitor for meaning

    • Reread a sentence to correct errors or confirm predictions

    • Read and write about 30 sight words

    • Write a simple message about a book with teacher scaffolding


    Early readers are becoming proficient in the following skills and strategic actions

    • Monitoring for meaning and structure

    • Monitoring for visual information

    • Rereading at points of difficulty to access meaning and structure

    • Using a variety of strategic actions to solve words

    • Reading easy and familiar books with phrasing and expression

    • Retelling what they have read

    • Reading and writing about 60-80 sight words

    • Applying phonetic principles to problem-solve while reading and writing

    • Writing a simple message about the story


    As transitional readers progress through text levels, they become more proficient in the following skills and strategic actions

    • Monitoring for meaning, structure, and visual information

    • Rereading a phrase or word to access meaning and structure

    • Using a variety of strategic actions to solve words (onset/rime, known parts, analogies, syllables)

    • Noticing and self-correcting to fix errors without prompting

    • Increasing fluency and phrasing

    • Retelling narrative and informational text including key details

    • Applying phonetic principles to problem-solve while reading and writing

    • Writing a response to fiction and non fiction texts


    Fluent readers, are ready for higher-level comprehension strategies, including

    • Identifying main ideas and important details

    • Making inferences

    • Summarizing

    • Drawing conclusions

    • Analyzing relationships between characters and ideas

    • Evaluating the author's purpose


    Third Grade Reading Guarantee and Dyslexia

    Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee is a program to identify students from kindergarten through grade 3 who are behind in reading. Schools will provide help and support to make sure students are on track for reading success by the end of third grade. The ability to read is the foundation of learning. Research shows that children who are not reading at a third-grade level by the end of grade 3 are likely to have trouble learning in all classroom subjects in higher grades.

    Each year, districts and schools must administer the reading diagnostic by Sept. 30 for grades 1-3 and during the first 20 days of instruction for kindergarten students. The results of the reading diagnostic determine whether a child is on-track or not on-track in reading. A child is on-track, or reading at or above grade level, at the beginning of each grade if the child is reading at the level set by Ohio’s Learning Standards for the end of the previous grade. 

    Screening assessments are not designed to diagnose dyslexia but rather to identify risk. To effectively identify students with dyslexia or children at risk of dyslexia, schools must first start by screening all students. An effective screening process includes the full student population and, through a process of deduction, identifies students demonstrating risk factors. Risk factors include: inaccurate reading of text, dysfluent reading of text, difficulty with automatic word recognition, difficulty matching sounds to letters, difficulty blending and segmenting sounds in spoken words, difficulty naming letters.

    Once a student is identified by a screener as at risk, additional diagnostic, performance or other observation data may need to be collected to determine the student’s academic need in a specific component of reading. The school then applies instructional decisions to match the student with the right set of skills and instructional practices.

    Interventions and Materials

    All instruction and intervention uses evidence-based reading strategies successful in improving reading and math among students with reading and math difficulties and instruction targeted at the student’s identified difficulties. Any intervention or remediation services are intensive, explicit and systematic instruction.

    Reading Interventions and Progress Monitoring

    A school must create a RIMP (Reading Improvement and Monitoring Plan) for a student who is not on-track (reading below grade level). This plan explains the intervention a student will receive during POLAR Time. Jackson offers a variety of interventions based on student needs. Below is an overview of all the interventions available and how progress for each is monitored. Your child’s RIMP will explain which intervention your child is receiving. 


    Heggerty:  Explicit Intervention in Phonemic Awareness (152710)

    Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. This falls under the umbrella term of phonological awareness.  This understanding improves students’ word reading and comprehension and helps them learn to spell. Progress in this intervention is checked every two (2) weeks using Acadience Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF) and First Sound Fluency (FSF) probes.


    Sonday:  Multi-Modal Approach to Structured Literacy (152750)

    A multi-sensory, structured, explicit, systematic, sequential, cumulative, diagnostic and prescriptive instructional approach for reading and writing; which targets: phonemic awareness, sound-letter correspondence (phonics), spelling, handwriting, fluency, morphology, vocabulary and comprehension. Teaching steps are the following: synthetic and analytic presentation, opportunity for practice and teaching to mastery of a structured scope and sequence. Progress in this intervention is checked every 3 levels using Sonday Reading and Spelling Mastery Checks.


    Fundations:  Explicit Intervention in Decoding (152720)

    Early, explicit, and systematic instruction in phonics can help strengthen students’ decoding skills.  Phonics instruction should follow a phonics scope and sequence. Progress in this intervention is checked every two (2) weeks using Fundations Progress Monitoring Probes. 


    Leveled Literacy Intervention: Small Group Scaffolding of Complex Text (152740)

    The Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention System (LLI) is a small-group, supplementary literacy intervention designed to help teachers provide powerful, daily, small-group instruction for the lowest achieving students at their grade level. It is important for all students, including those that are reading below grade level, to access complex, rigorous texts daily.  In order to do this, teachers can provide scaffolded instruction for students, which can include, but is not limited to:pre-teaching vocabulary, focus on language structure of complex sentences, teaching cohesive ties, teaching morphology and decoding of multisyllabic words. Progress in this intervention is checked every two (2) weeks using an oral reading assessment and a sight word mastery check.

    Small Group Instruction: Explicit Instruction of Comprehension (152725)

    Small group work where the teacher supports each reader’s development of effective strategies for processing new, complex texts at increasing levels of difficulty. The teacher carefully groups children according to need, selects a book to introduce, and works with individual students as each reads the book in its entirety.  Discussion, focused teaching, and optional word work complete the lesson.  Before focusing intervention efforts on multiple, complex comprehension strategies, it is critical to ascertain if students need additional instruction in phonics, fluency, vocabulary, sentence structure and text structure. Progress in this intervention is checked every two (2) weeks using an oral reading assessment and a sight word mastery check.

    Reading Recovery (grade 1 only): Interventions Designed around Leveled Texts (152755)

    A short-term, one-to-one, intervention for first grade students who struggle to learn to read and write. Children have daily 30-minute lessons with a trained Reading Recovery teacher for 12-20 weeks with the goal of accelerating learning to reach the class average.  One to one intervention using leveled texts whereby an instructional reading level is assigned to each student. Progress in this intervention is checked daily using an  oral reading assessment and a sight word mastery check.


    Math Interventions

    Our math intervention during POLAR Time targets 5 different areas of math:  forward and backward number sense, structuring, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division and place value.  Each child works in one of the above areas until they reach grade-level expectations.  These math interventions are game based and are developed by teachers that have specialized training in Math AddVantage.  Each area is described in more detail below.

    Forward and Backward Number Sense

    Students learn the names of numbers (number words), symbols for numbers (numerals) and the forward and backward sequence of numbers starting with single digits and moving up as grade-level expectations require.


    Students work on combining and splitting apart numbers without using counting by ones.  Students develop their understanding of doubles and the five and ten as reference points.  Example of work in structuring:  Break 2 into 1+1 and 3 into 2+1 or 1+2

    Addition and Subtraction

    Students build off of the understanding of the structure of numbers (see above) and develop a range of strategies in which to add and subtract.  

    Multiplication and Division

    Students work to conceptually understand multiplication (equal groups or repeated addition) and division (sharing or repeated subtraction).  Students develop a range of strategies in which to add and subtract. 

    Place Value

    Students develop a sense of the relative sizes of numbers.  They learn ways of relating multi-digit numbers to each other, as well as learn about decimals and how to organize numbers based on their grade level expectations.

    Impact On Literacy and Math Instruction

    Each year the effectiveness of the literacy and/or math support is evaluated and adapted to continually better meet student needs. The district uses a variety of assessments to measure progress. A significant portion of individual student gains can be attributed to classroom teachers’ instruction with the additional support of POLAR Time instruction.

    Some gains in literacy and math, however, are not measurable by standardized tests. Growth in self-confidence, an increased interest in reading and math, choosing to read or write for enjoyment and sharing books with friends, and initiating the play of math games are also important outcomes of the intervention.

    Family Engagement

    Families of students receiving literacy and/or math support have the opportunity to participate in the design and implementation of the program and are involved in a variety of ways; individual conferences, parent information meetings, literacy and math parent nights, and end-of-year program evaluation. Families are important partners in our work with your children.