“I teach special education students who need a fun way to read and learn more vocabulary, and they have truly loved this program! We call it our interactive comic book. They can’t wait to get on the platform and read more!” –Dr. Michelle Ritchey
During the 2018-2019 school year, Dr. Michelle Ritchey had the unique experience of being both a veteran educator, a first-year solo teacher and a first-year Read to Lead user. She currently teaches Language Arts, 8th grade, resource class ( special ed) and 6th and 7th intervention classes for reading at Armuchee Middle School, in Georgia, where she helps her students fill in the gaps in reading and math. Before this role, Dr. Ritchey was the district teacher for the deaf and hard-of-hearing students of Floyd County at eight schools across the area.
Subscribing to the theory that the truly wise never stop learning, Dr. Ritchey opted to learn with her students and has been completing Read to Lead episodes alongside them. Her students have loved the opportunity to strengthen their own reading skills in a fun way, but for many, the real prize is trying to beat their teacher’s score!
With a background working with deaf and hard-of-hearing students, Dr. Ritchey is no stranger to lesson plans that require differentiation. She’s been able to easily add Read to Lead to her classroom, as the episodes automatically meet students on their individual levels.
She especially loves that the teacher dashboard immediately allows her to assess every student’s progress. This was a big part of her participation in the 2019 Million Words Read Challenge. The dashboard helped her measure student progress and continue to motivate her students to read so they could become millionaires!
For some of Dr. Ritchey’s students, school can be a challenging endeavor, but Read to Lead given them a view into the world beyond the classroom. The program and why what they learn now is important to reaching those goals.
For her students, it’s especially important to start preparing them early for success beyond the classroom. Literacy and leadership are critical, and Read to Lead (and the Millions Words Read Challenge) made reading fun. Her students were in charge of their reading and it was no longer a chore.
They also learned what it takes to succeed in a career. “Read to Lead allows us to put [learning a trade and getting a job] into context. When they talk about the hurricane, my students can relate to the tornados we have,” Dr. Ritchey said. “They get to talk about their experiences as a class, which helps their social skills.”
Dr. Ritchey’s students participated in the 2019 Million Words Read Challenge. This experience was particularly powerful for her students because it made them feel included in a group activity and helped develop their social confidence. “In the Million Words Read Challenge, the students were so excited. When they got their badges, they knew exactly what it meant: that they were winners.”
To learn more about this year’s Million Words Read Challenge and how you can participate, click here!
About Read to Lead
Read to Lead, created by the nonprofit organization, Classroom Inc., uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!