Abdullah2012 Scholastic All-Star, Massachusetts Read More >
Caleb2014 Scholastic All-Star, California Read More >
Daniel2013 Scholastic All-Star, Texas Read More >
Dwayne RichardsGrade 7, Scholastic All-Star Finalist, Texas Read More >
Jesus2014 Scholastic All-Star, Pennsylvania Read More >
Jose2012 Scholastic All-Star, New York Read More >
Jumel2013 Scholastic All-Star, Kansas Read More >
Michaela2014 Scholastic All-Star, Pennsylvania Read More >
Nazem2013 Scholastic All-Star, California Read More >
System 44 FamilyAnn Arbor, MI Read More >
Matthew SchultzGrade 10, System 44 All-Star, New York Read More >
OliverGrade 7, Washington Read More >
ChiefGrade 7, Minnesota Read More >
NathanielGrade 8, Texas Read More >
Abdullah is an English Language Learner who moved to the United States from Pakistan just three years ago. He arrived speaking three languages, but he was new to English. As a Beginning Reader with few English decoding skills, Abdullah was placed in System 44.
Abdullah began the year quiet, disengaged, and easily distracted. His teachers struggled to get him to stay on task and participate in class. But Abdullah quickly became comfortable with the program demands and began to take his success into his own hands.
Soon, he became a class leader, participating in discussions, asking questions, working hard to improve his English and reading skills, and serving as a role model to other students.
Abdullah exhibits a sincere appreciation for education and for the opportunities he has found in his new country and school. During a workshop on child labor, Abdullah shared with his classmates that he—like children in the workshop materials-—had been abused at the school he attended in his home country. “It was emotional,” wrote his teacher, “to listen to a student who struggles with this language communicate such sorrow and courage at the same time.”
Inside the classroom and out, Abudallah demonstrated maturity beyond his years. During a sixth-grade outdoor survival field trip, he carried as much equipment as he could, and checked in frequently to make sure his teachers were safe and okay. “He really showed his maturity and consideration for others,” said his teacher.
In just four months, Abdullah’s reading skills increased by two grade levels. “Now when I do assignments in System 44 it seems easier, and I don’t mind answering a question if I’m wrong,” he says. “Since I’ve been in System 44, English is getting easier and the questions are getting easier.”
"Two years ago, at the beginning of his fourth grade year, Caleb struggled with many of the building blocks of reading (decoding, sound-symbol connections and phonics) because of a learning disability that added to the challenge of learning to read. After two years in intervention programs, first System 44 and then READ 180, Caleb has quickly improved his reading skills, jumping the equivalent of three grade levels in his reading ability. A crowning achievement for him was reading Hatchet, a grade-level text, along with the rest of his classmates. “It was hard, but I had to read it on my own,” he said. His teacher says he is now a leader in the classroom and on the football field, where he dreams of becoming an NFL star
Daniel entered System 44 in fourth grade facing various academic and social challenges. He had been identified as dyslexic, read at only a 100L Lexile measure, and was embarrassed and frustrated by his inability to read. "The first couple of weeks in my class," reports his reading teacher, "he talked about how much he hated System 44 because it is for kids who can't read and he didn't need to be in the class."
Daniel's frustration contributed to the anger management and other behavioral problems that had marked his academic career since first grade. Daniel was rude and bossy toward classmates, disrespectful to his teachers, and had few friends. "He was one of the kids with a negative reputation," says a teacher.
Despite his issues, Daniel worked hard in System 44 and soon began to make progress. After a year in the program, his SRI score had increased by more than 400 points, and he had discovered a love of books. "The first time I read Hunt and Kill I really liked it, and I decided to read more and more," he explains. "I have read 30 books in a year."
His teachers report that "reading has helped Daniel overcome not only academic issues, but social issues as well." As his reading skills and self-image have improved, his behavior has improved dramatically, too. "He is now able to control himself and to apologize to his teachers and friends when he does get upset. Daniel feels good about himself because he can read chapter books fluently and that has positively affected his behavior in a powerful way."
As Daniel explains it, reading itself has become a calming influence in his life. "I used to have anger problems and reading books helps me calm down. I get into the book and I can’t remember why I was mad."
Dwayne is a shy student by nature. When he started in System 44 and READ 180, he had a lot of anger and frustration with this reading challenges. His teachers noticed that he often seemed disengaged, teary-eyed and didn’t want to be in class at all.
During one of his early System 44 classroom sessions, Dwayne came across a story about 3 young students who were sent to juvenile detention, and ended-up turning their lives around by studying and eventually pursuing medical school. This story inspired Dwayne -- he was hooked and more importantly, he became motivated to fight through and overcome his own challenges.
In a short time with System 44 and READ 180, Dwayne has seen major improvements in his reading and vocabulary skills. He now participates in class by asking questions and volunteering answers. His teachers share stories about how his curiosity and energy help motivate students around him; his success helps them want to succeed, too.
Dwayne reads everything now --- science books, sports book, sometimes even comic books. System 44 and READ 180 helped him set his sights even higher than middle school. “I want to graduate middle school, high school and college, so I can study business,” says Dwayne. We can’t wait to see how far he takes it!
Jesus moved to Bethlehem from Puerto Rico when he was four years old. As a native Spanish-speaker, language barriers made it difficult for him to master reading and writing in English. In his fifth-grade year, he was enrolled in System 44, and then everything changed for him. In four short months, Jesus was reading on a 4th grade level. “System 44 made reading a lot easier,” Jesus said. “When I read out loud in class I don’t feel nervous like I used to. System 44 has made me love reading.” His teacher, Scott Toonder noted, “Jesus’ transformation has been amazing in so many ways, but perhaps the most striking change is in his attitude toward reading.”
Jose is hard of hearing, and throughout elementary school, he was always in small classrooms comprising 5 to 6 deaf or hearing-impaired students. In sixth grade, Jose entered a new school, and became part of an inclusive setting for the first time. His new classes included 18 or more students, of which Jose was the only student with a hearing impairment.
Jose was nervous about the new challenges he faced, and his test scores showed that he needed support in reading. In seventh grade, he was placed in System 44,which soon proved to be the perfect fit. In less one year, Jose’s SRI score increased by nearly 200 points. He has learned to write a paragraph, and to read with a purpose. His grades in math and social studies have also improved dramatically.
Jose has made tremendous social and emotional strides, too. When he first entered his new school he lacked confidence, was afraid to make mistakes, and rarely completed an assignment without assistance from his parents or teachers. Now, Jose’s teachers describe him as an independent learner who is always the first student to dig into a writing assignment or volunteer to read aloud.
At first, Jose had difficulty making new friends, but now he has grown comfortable interacting with his hearing peers. He has educated his classmates about the hearing aide he wears—and impressed everyone with his lip-reading skills! Jose has made many friends, and one teacher called him “a positive leader in the classroom, always modeling exceptional behavior.”
Jose states that System 44 and his reading teacher have changed his school experience. “I am able to understand the easy questions and the hard questions!” he says. “I hope my work inspires other teachers and students.”
Jumel is an English Language Learner who immigrated to the United States a few years ago. Born in the Congo amidst political unrest, Jumel had a difficult early childhood. His father was killed when Jumel was only a year old, and his mother disappeared from his life when he was three. An aunt and uncle took Jumel in and eventually brought him to America to live.
Jumel arrived in the U.S. speaking only French, and in seventh grade, he was placed in System 44.
Jumel acclimated himself to his new, American middle school through sports. He is an excellent runner and long jumper, and though he had never played football in the Congo, Jumel soon became his team’s secret weapon.
As much as he loves sports, Jumel is equally enthusiastic about learning and education. His teachers describe him as an extremely motivated and dedicated student and a natural-born leader. “He never has a day that he doesn’t want to be here,” says one teacher. “He wants to be here and work hard so he isn’t just passing people out on the track, he is also passing them up in the classroom.”
Though still reading below grade level, Jumel raised his Lexile score from Beginning Reader to 496—an increase of almost three grade levels—after just seven months in System 44. Jumel’s writing improved as well, and he kept up with his work in other classes. He regularly stayed after school to continue improving his skills.
“Before System 44, everything was hard to do, but now it is more fun,” says Jumel. “The more I do it, the more I get better at it. Not only that, but I can teach others words they didn’t know.”
Having been homeschooled through the third grade, Michaela entered Baker Elementary School as a fourth-grader with an infectious enthusiasm for learning, but as a beginning reader. It’s now one year later, and Michaela has closed gaps in phonics and surpassed her goals. With hard work and support from her teachers and family, she is now closer than ever to being on grade level. "Due largely to her participation and success in the READ 180 program, Michaela now has many aspirations for her future," noted her teacher. "In addition to attending a trade school, Michaela wishes to play volleyball professionally. Not only has she been practicing her skills, she has been reading books about the sport to learn as much as she can."
Nazem has struggled with reading since first grade, and by third grade had become a discouraged, unmotivated, and easily distracted student. His SPI score identified him as a beginning decoder and he scored in the below basic reading range on state and district tests.
At home, Nazem's family was supportive and eager to see him succeed in school, but their house was (and is) often crowded with extended family members needing a place to stay.
In the middle of third grade, Nazem was placed in a System 44 classroom, and soon found himself enjoying the work. "The videos make it fun and interesting and cool," he says. "It is not boring at all."
Slowly but steadily, Nazem learned to decode and his reading comprehension improved, too. By the end of fourth grade, he had raised his Lexile measure to 450L, and midway through fifth grade, he proudly tested at 662L!
But the biggest changes his teachers noticed were in Nazem's self-confidence, executive function, and engagement in schoolwork. Nazem has become a goal setter who consistently achieves his academic goals.
According to his reading teacher, "Nazem is much more invested in his education. He has become more responsible for completing homework and staying on task during independent work, he participates in whole- and small-group discussions, and is always willing to lend a hand to help a friend."
Nazem has worked diligently for his successes, and he is proud of what he has achieved. "When my teacher told me I had passed System 44, I was so happy. It was the first thing I told my mom and dad when I got home from school that day. I felt very proud of myself."
In the fall of 2009, 11 schools in Ann Arbor, MI, implemented System 44 as part of a Scholastic-sponsored research study to establish efficacy in grades 2–11. At the beginning of the school year, 73% of the students included in the study were classified as “beginning decoders.” However, after less than three months using the program, parents and educators began noticing a distinct change in their students, in both quantitative and qualitative Special Education - Reluctant Reader measures. One family shared the following story regarding their child’s involvement with System 44:
“I wanted to let you know how thrilled we are with the help that our son is getting this year. We have noticed a huge change in his reading and also his confidence level. Last Thursday he came home and told us that it was ‘the very best day of his life’ because he had improved his SRI score and graduated to READ 180. He even called both sets of grandparents to share the news! There is nothing better than watching your child work hard, gain confidence, and feel proud of their accomplishments. We are so grateful.”
Dyslexia made academic performance difficult for Matthew. He was often falling behind on reading, writing and math and had to be pulled out of class for additional support. He stumbled over words and could not complete his writing work effectively because he could never fully understand his reading assignments. Even his spelling was poor.
Matthew was determined, and he embraced System 44 and READ 180, knowing that the program would help get him where he needs to be. With much hard work, Matthew quickly strengthened his phonics and decoding skills and improved reading and spelling ability. Since he has been in the program, his teachers have noticed that he has more advanced development in his schoolwork, including stronger sentence structure, broader vocabulary and clear evidence of comprehension.
Now that Matthew understands what he is reading, his writing has improved. He is reading books now that he couldn’t finish a year ago. He is reading bigger books; longer books. He is able to consume more content, faster, incorporate greater detail in his writing and craft stronger supporting arguments. These are important skills for Matthew to master, as it is his dream to one day become an attorney.
In the meantime, Matthew is proudly running for school council and thanks to his renewed sense of confidence, he is even more driven, focused and goal-oriented than ever!
Oliver is a dedicated student who is involved in his school and always willing to help his fellow students. Among his many activities, Oliver plays violin in orchestra, has been a representative of the Associated Student Body since the 6th grade, has built a robot through the robotics club, and keeps statistics for the basketball team. At home, Oliver’s family speaks Spanish and with his enhanced literacy skills, he helps to inspire his siblings to excel in reading and translates English for his parents when needed. It was System 44 that gave him the confidence in his reading ability to help his family and also to graduate beyond special education classes. He is aiming high for his future! Oliver shared, “My future goal in life is to invent machines and to help all living beings have a better life.”
Chief came to America from Liberia last spring and initially was a shy student, reluctant to read aloud in class. Through System 44, he challenged himself to succeed and believed he could advance his reading skills. Through thoughtful, hard work, Chief accomplished just that and in record time—completing all 160 topics of the System 44 program this year! He now provides tips to other students to help them succeed and hopes to one day pursue medicine. “I want to be a doctor because I love helping people. I want to work on the brain; I feel that is amazing,” said Chief. “To be a doctor you have to read a lot.”
Nathaniel found himself having significant difficulties in school due to a learning disability and as a result, he was reading far below grade level. It wasn’t until Nathaniel experienced a System 44 classroom that his story began to shift. With this newfound support, he was able to start regaining confidence in his abilities and become a dedicated student, jumping into class discussions and devouring books. Today, Nathaniel is asked to mentor fellow students, is eligible to play on his school’s sport teams (his passion is baseball) and is a member of The Border Patrol Explorers program. Upon graduating from college, he hopes for a career in criminal justice or professional baseball. Nathaniel’s teacher noted, “The beauty of the ambitions he created is that as a dyslexic student, he is keenly aware of the hard work it will take to obtain a college degree, and yet he does not retreat from the challenges.”