The Reading Room at Berrien Elementary School (BES) is a hub of activity every day. The room houses hundreds of leveled books, both fiction and nonfiction, used throughout the year for increasing reading fluency. Reading is one of the most effective activities to increase children's vocabulary, decoding, and comprehension skills, all of which are essential components of lifelong literacy (Nippold et. al, 2005). Throughout the day, four paraprofessionals trained in researched based strategies meet with small groups of students to strengthen reading skills. Progress is monitored and groups change throughout the year according to students needs. In addition, four community volunteers spend mornings collecting and dispersing bags of books throughout the school for reading practice. These books are changed weekly and students are encouraged to read each book at least three times. Throughout the year, hundreds of students participate in this program to increase fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
The Reading Room also maintains all reading data collected throughout the year. This includes the Dynamic Indicator of Basic Essential Literacy Skills (DIBELS) benchmark given to all students three times a year. Also, the DAZE which is given three times each year. The Reading Paraprofessionals also progress monitor monthly, when needed, to assess effectiveness of small group strategies. The Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) is also administered which identifies a student's reading lexile.