District Initiatives

  • The District ELA team supports a variety of programs that support literacy for students in Richmond Public Schools. Below, each program is listed, with a short description and contact information for the point person of that project.

    Elementary Leveled Libraries

    During the summer of 2017, The Department of Curriculum and Instruction was pleased to purchase every K-5 teacher in Richmond Public Schools with a small leveled library to be used for teacher read-alouds, guided reading and student independent reading time. These libraries were crafted collaboratively with teachers to support the varied and diverse interests and needs of their students. Libraries were distributed to schools in August for use during the school year.  

    Middle School Libraries

    During the 2017-2018 school year, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction was pleased to purchase every 6-8 teaching in Richmond Public Schools a classroom library that included an assortment of multicultural, contemporary novels in a variety of genres, written by diverse authors and starring diverse protagonists. We believe that students need access to literature that serves as "windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors." These libraries were the first step to providing culturally responsive literature in our ELA classrooms. These libraries were crafted collaboratively with teachers to support the varied and diverse interests and needs of their students.  

    Reading Riders Summer Book Buses 

    This program started in 2015 at Oak Grove Elementary School under the leadership of Jessica Carpenter (Title I Reading Specialist) and Mary Townes (Principal). In 2016, the program expanded to twelve elementary schools, delivering books to over 5,400 Richmond Public School students, with a primary focus on preventing summer learning loss and increasing literacy for students in Kindergarten through 5th Grade. In 2017, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction was excited to help promote summer reading again with twenty elementary school participating in this year's initiative. Each school's Reading Riders Summer Book Bus traveled within their attendance zone between 3pm and 7pm on Wednesdays for six weeks. Trips ran between June 28th and concluded on August 2nd. In 2017, approximately 8,500 visits to the book buses expanded the program significantly. We believe that equity and access to high quality books must be a priority. Each year, the Reading Riders program works towards ensuring that every child have access to these books in the summer months. 

    Reading Riders Flyer

    Elementary LETRS Cohort 

    Virginia Reads One Book

    Richmond Public Schools is excited to participate in this year's Virginia Reads One Book initiative. "Students and families across Virginia will participate in a state-wide family reading event called Virginia Reads One Book in February of 2018. With the active support of sponsors like the Washington Redskins Community Foundation, the Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation, and the Virginia Council on Economic Education, thousands of Virginia students, families, and schools will read The Lemonade War and celebrate both family and financial literacy." Virginia Reads One Book starts the day after Super Bowl LII. Kickoff is February 5, 2018. For more information, please visit the Virgina Reads website or contact Dawn James-Cappiello for more information at djames@rvaschools.net or at (804) 698-3606.

Elementary School Initiatives

  • Broad Rock Elementary

    Broad Rock Elementary hosted “Books Alive” on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Teachers and administrators dressed up as storybook characters and read their books or a chapter of their books to students.

    This fall, Broad Rock participated in the One Book, One School program. Every student received a copy of the book, Charlotte's Web, in either English or Spanish. We had many fun activities that went along with our reading of the book, including a kick-off party with a live baby pig; a "Web of Wonderful Words," which each homeroom contributed to throughout the reading of the book; and a school-wide bar graph tracking our favorite characters. We loved reading this book and being able to share it with our families!

    Broad Rock Staff

    Carver Elementary

    Carver Elementary tackled “Charlotte’s Web” as part of the “One School, One Book” program between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Every student in the school experienced the story, either read aloud to them or read independently. Teachers planned different comprehension and vocabulary units in their classroom to supplement the story, from summary comic books to reading response journals. After finishing the book, some teachers watched the film adaptation with their class and did a text to movie comparison. Since they all had a copy of the book to keep, students were encouraged to share the story over break with a family member. 

    Ginter Park Elementary

    At Ginter Park Elementary, we have a monthly Book Club partnership with Compare.com. Volunteers from Compare.com come into the building one Tuesday each month and participate in a novel study with selected fourth grade students. This year, our novel study is Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective. This Book Club and partnership was started in 2016-2017 between the Title I teacher and the Communities in Schools support. Many of the students who are participating in Book Club this year, participated last year as third graders. We are very excited about this ongoing literacy event!

    J.E.B. Stuart Elementary

    During the month of January, the teachers and students at J.E.B. Stuart Elementary are reading the 10 books from the Virginia Readers’ Choice Awards’ primary book list. Teachers receive two books each week to read aloud to their classes. At the end of the month the students will each have a chance to vote for their favorite book out of the ten. The students’ votes will be submitted to the Virginia Readers’ Choice committee and counted among all the other votes from students around the state. Will J.E.B. Stuart’s favorite book be the same as the favorite book for the entire state of Virginia?

    Oak Grove Bellemeade Elementary 

    Oak Grove Bellemeade and Communities in Schools (CIS) have partnered together to create authentic family-centered literacy experiences for all students in Kindergarten and 1st grade. Throughout the year, each grade attends field trips, sponsored by CIS. A goal of these trips is to have every student bring a parent who will engage in authentic learning with their student. Oak Grove Bellemeade and CIS have also partnered with EXCELL to host two family literacy nights a year for each grade.  The first literacy nights took place Fall 2017 and were a HUGE success.  The next two will take place in the spring of 2018. These literacy nights are themed and most recently Pete the Cat was the theme for First Grade.  The families are provided with a dinner and at least five literacy activities that are authentic and aligned for them to complete that night and take home to complete as well.  Each student also received two brand new Pete the Cat books, sight word games, sentence building activities, vocabulary enrichment, and blending/segmenting practice all while building a love for reading!  We are greatly looking forward to the next two nights!

    Westover Hills Elementary

    Our wonderful fourth and fifth grade students have partnered with the Washington Redskins to participate in Redskins Read! Each month our fourth and fifth grade students compete to see which class will receive the Redskins Trophy and various prizes for reading the greatest amount of time outside of class. Students also complete their very own Redskins Read Playbook during reading stations to improve their reading comprehension.

Middle School Initiatives

  • Binford Middle School

    Binford is connecting with our community and thinking creatively to improve literacy! Binford hosted our first arts integrated showcase of the year, InLight, on the evening of November 3rd . Students, families, and community members were invited to a magical evening showcase of student work across contents and art forms developed around the theme of InLight.

    On November 13th , through a partnership with bbgb in Carytown, author Shannon Messenger visited Binford to discuss her popular series, Keeper of the Lost Cities and her personal writing process. Students and staff have also read and explored Sean Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and are excited get started on our next school-wide novel, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming. These are just a few highlights of Binford’s focus on improving literacy and growing a love for reading. Binford is looking forward to the next arts integrated showcase, InLove, on February 15th .

    Lucille Brown Middle School

    Lucille Brown Middle School has partnered with Chippenham Johston Willis Hospital for our “One School, One Book” initiative. The school community at Lucille Brown Middle School is truly appreciative of our partnership with CJW Hospital. Their generous donation for the purchase of our school-wide novel is a mammoth testament to the power of community engagement and support! As a learning community, we revere literacy development, and our commitment to making reading a fundamental aspect in the lives of all our students is unwavering. As we delve into this initiative, it is with the expectation that we will expand the horizons of our entire school family..one page at a time!!

    Our novel this year is Nine, Ten : A September 11 story written by Nora Raleigh Baskin. This novel will tie into our IB Global Context of globalization and sustainability. Global contexts are six themes that teachers weave throughout all the courses taught in the IB. Global contexts provide links between traditional subjects and real-world relevance to classroom content. The process of acquiring skills and information, along with developing personal values and self-awareness, gives each student the opportunity to take some responsibility for his or her own education.

    Our Spelling Bee took place on Jan. 3, 2018. Our three finalists are Catherine Anderson, Lailah Oliver, James Puzon. Congratulations to our 8th grade students!

High School Initiatives

  • John Marshall High School

    Objective: Compile building and English department-wide efforts to increase literacy among our students.

    John Marshall strives to increase building-wide literacy across the content areas by implementing silent-sustained reading periods among various subjects and grade levels.
    We have read a school-wide novel, Tuesdays with Morrie, where all students in the building read the entire book and created projects focused on ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Students learned to make links to biology, history, English, as well as life lessons, to their personal lives.
    Students within the social studies department at John Marshall are reading one common novel across all classes to increase vocabulary as well as background knowledge.

    Open High School

    At least three times a year, students at OHS participate in GRAB (Go Read a Book). Students are allowed to select and keep a book of their choice from a wide variety of new and used books. The English Department and a number of volunteers collect the books from the community to enhance students’ home libraries.

    Book Nooks
    OHS has three book nooks in different locations in the building. These are large bookshelves filled with a wide variety of reading material. Students can “Take a book, leave a book” at these locations.

    On Tuesday afternoons, several students participate in a program to enhance literacy skills.

    Russian Literature/Mindfulness and Meditation
    Beginning soon, University of Richmond students will begin an afterschool program for OHS students on Mondays and Fridays exploring Russian Literature and mindfulness and meditation.

    Richmond Community High School

    Richmond Community High School has always emphasized the importance of literacy and communication. This year the English teachers have committed to independent reading time in every English class and the students LOVE it. English classrooms offer students a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, and students are able to self-select what they wish to read. RCHS also held a Drop Everything and Read event in the fall, led by our media specialist. The entire school gathered and read for 45 minutes. Students and staff adore this annual event. The staff understand how important reading is and are committed to doing everything they can to offer students multiple opportunities to read during the school day.

    Classroom Library - Community High School

    Richmond Techinical Center

    The EMT/Intro to Health Science Instructor, Rachel Edwards has set up lab stations in her class. For every unit that the students investigate, there is a reading comprehension section that the students complete before moving on to the next section. The activities at the lab stations reinforce medical, science, and literacy competencies.

    The Performance Learning Center at the Richmond Technical Center utilizes Technology-Enhanced Literacy Learning through the administration of English coursework in Edgenuity, an online curriculum software program. Students are exploring literary works such as The Bet by Anton Chekov, Night by Elie Wiesel, Beowulf, The Odyssey by Homer, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Civil Peace by Chinua Achebe, poetry, early stream of consciousness and feminism in fiction,  and many, many more short stories, novels, plays, and poems. Edgenuity allows students to explore literacy using technology-enhanced learning in a self-paced, self-guided format with short tutorial videos, writing exercises, quizzes, and formal assessments.