Our Proven Curriculum
The SitStayRead Curriculum
SitStayRead uses a curriculum designed to support key literacy skills at that grade-level. Each program is created in partnership with our Program Advisory Committee, which includes SitStayRead staff, volunteers, teachers, and faculty from the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Literacy, University of Chicago, DePaul University, and Northeastern Illinois University, and is built using Common Core standards. Each program uses dog-themed books and materials and incorporates different reading and writing skills and initiatives.
The Little Buddies (1st Grade) program focuses on big picture literacy skills like character identification, sequencing, and listening comprehension. The program also introduces students to the concept of having dogs in the classroom and has a special focus on social emotional learning. Each class engages in a read aloud and group discussion followed by visits with our Dog Team during a creative writing and drawing activity.
The Tail Blazers (2nd Grade) program focuses on increasing fluency and comprehension skills using several different reading styles. With the goal of increasing reading fluency, Book Buddies lead fluency activities and brainstorming sessions and then support students with independent creative story writing. Students each get to spend reading time with Dog Teams.
The Poetry Pals (3rd Grade) program focuses on comprehension skills and written expression, our Poetry Pals program allows students to read and write poetry about dogs and also spend time with Dog Teams. Each visit includes reading activities, comprehension discussions, and independent poetry writing.
Evaluation & Studies
We believe that routine assessment of our programs is important to make sure we are providing programming that really makes an impact. We partner with the Department of School Psychology at Loyola University Chicago for program assessment to ensure their effectiveness and to give us a picture of where the students are and what their needs are.
Tail Blazers Program Evaluation
In 2013 we partnered with the Department of School Psychology at Loyola University Chicago to create an evaluation tool that measured student achievement in each of those areas (fluency and comprehension). The evaluation also included components of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and a survey measuring attitude towards reading and learning. The process consisted of two phases of data collection from both test and control classrooms, followed by data analysis and completion of a report by the Loyola team. The study found that students in SitStayRead developed fluency at a rate 47.8% greater than their non-participating peers. To view the full evaluation, click here.
Little Buddies Program Evaluation
Over the course of the 2016-17 school year, we collaborated with professor David Shriberg, Ph.D. at Loyola University to develop and utilize a mechanism for assessing the success of our first grade Little Buddies program. This program focuses specifically on “big picture” literacy skills like character identification, sequencing, retelling, and prediction, as well as social-emotional learning.
We are happy to report that our study found that students in SitStayRead classrooms tended to outperform the students in non-SitStayRead classrooms in reading and writing tasks, and SitStayRead students made greater gains in receptive vocabulary, listening comprehension, and written expression. Additionally, SitStayRead story time was associated with high levels of student engagement and focus.