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Hamilton City Schools soon will be a training site for Southwest Ohio teachers
interested in implementing a specialized one-on-one intensive reading
intervention for first-graders.

The Ohio State University is establishing a Reading Recovery training site in
Hamilton to be taught by Teacher Leader Carla Castator, who is finishing her
training and graduate level certification through the university. As one of only 18 Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders in the state, she will first provide graduate level Reading Recovery training to a team of teachers in Hamilton. She also will support literacy instruction in the district. In one year, after the program has been established, other districts in the region may send teachers for training.

The district was selected, because of its implementation of the Literacy
Collaborative Framework for all elementary students. “As a teacher leader, and as a result of her intensive coursework with OSU’s Reading Recovery, Carla is an expert in literacy instruction,” said Danielle Romine, Director of Elementary Programs.
Hamilton is a trailblazer, Romine added, because it is investing in teachers rather than a resource or program.

“This creates systemic and sustainable instructional practices throughout our
schools,” she said. “Hamilton’s vision is to train literacy experts in all our
elementary buildings so teachers benefit from continued professional learning,
and our new teachers have support as they develop their craft. Carla, our teacher leader, is able to provide college credit through The Ohio State University to our teachers, which further shows our commitment and support to the professional growth of our educators.”

The program is unique, Castator said, because it is a one-on one, individualized
short-term intervention that focuses on acceleration of literacy processing skills. Students chosen for Reading Recovery receive up to 20 weeks of 30-minute lessons taught by a highly trained teacher.

Studies show that around 75 percent of students who complete the intervention
program can meet and maintain grade level expectations in reading and writing,
and also continue to score well on standardized tests.

“We focus on teaching children to read for meaning,” she said. “We start off with a set of in-depth assessments to develop a plan for instructing the individual based on strengths. Reading Recovery teachers are able to use our daily records and assessments to understand where our students are, and how to support them to increase their processing. This leads to the fast acceleration that our struggling readers need to catch up with their peers.”

Born and raised in Hamilton, Castator, previously a Title 1 instructional coach, saidshe is proud to bring this educational program to her hometown. She has been
teaching in the district since 2007, and prior to that she taught a short time in Springboro. This past year she has been traveling bi-monthly to Columbus for
training.

She’s confident the program will make a big impact. “It’s an awesome feeling, because Reading Recovery is something I’ve wanted to be trained in for as long as I can remember,” Castator said. “Seeing the growth that my children have made this year in the program, and just the joy they get from reading with someone and enjoying books, that one-on-one attention for them is amazing to see.”

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