After 50 years, there is consensus that districts should focus on evidence-based practices to teach reading (the “Science of Reading”). Many teachers, however, are under-prepared to teach according to the complex conclusions of that research. Those who are must elicit choral responses, getting each child to say the same thing at the same time, which requires near-perfect classroom management. Even if students are responding in perfect unison, it is still difficult for a teacher to perceive an individual student’s mistakes. In the real world, many districts realize that their teachers are continuing to teach phonics far longer than they hoped, through 5th grade and even beyond. The implementation is just so hard.
Children are cognitively ready to learn how to read in kindergarten and first grade. Once successful, they become autonomous learners who require less differentiation, less remediation, and fewer supports in all of their academic subjects for the rest of their education.
We help school districts combine the Science of Reading with High-Dosage Tutoring to cost-effectively teach kindergarteners and first-graders to read.
We train schools' support staff to become Once Instructors. We provide them with scripted instructional content that is aligned to 50 years of educational research, we video record them, and we coach them to teach every student in kindergarten or first grade to read. Instruction happens one-on-one, at each student’s own pace.
Those school-support staff members, employed by the school district, receive over 20 hours of coaching in the Science of Reading, provided by an expert coach, and are eligible to receive graduate credit at partnered universities. Not only do these staff members learn how to teach your students to read effectively, they become your future pipeline of highly effective classroom teachers.
Each instructional session is 15 minutes each day. If a staff member is dedicated to the program full time, the staff member could work 20 students over the course of a day (taking breaks for lunch, gym, etc.)
You can start with a small number of students in a grade and grow over time. A district may start by using Once with just Tier III students. Once your district is comfortable with the approach, we recommend using this program as a Tier I intervention with all of your kindergarten students, so that they enter 1st grade reading fluently and independently well above grade level.
Unlike many High-Dosage Tutoring programs, Once is in-person and one-on-one. We believe that the relationships necessary to motivate sustained academic growth are best built in that setting. Once is also more affordable than many High-Dosage Tutoring programs because Once instructors are existing staff members at your school.
Once augments the Science of Reading-based instruction already happening in your classrooms. Most Science of Reading curricula have similar progressions, because they are drawing from the same research base. If a student learns a phoneme first in Once, the student will be even more prepared for whole group instruction with the lead teacher. If a student learns a phoneme first in whole group instruction with the lead teacher, the student will move through Once even more quickly.
The Science of Reading is more than just phonics. Here at Once we are huge advocates for reading authentic texts. Every lesson in Once (we call lessons Cycles because the instructional content is spiraled) contains an opportunity for students to read and engage with authentic text by asking questions, drawing connections, and making inferences and predictions.
No, the Once program provides staff members with all of the training and coaching they need to become highly effective instructors. Staff members who serve as instructors in the program may be eligible to receive college credit at participating universities.
Once is being used in public elementary schools in California, Hawaii, New York, Ohio, Texas and Washington D.C.
Once costs $375/student for a 1 year license. We don't provide discounts because most of the cost of a license goes toward the coaching service we provide.