Reading Now Network | Michigan Association of School Administrators

School superintendents from 20 West Michigan counties have formed the Reading Now Network (RNN) – a collective effort of superintendents, school boards and school districts throughout West Michigan to improve early literacy and, ultimately, student achievement across all grade levels.

One of the first steps to achieving that goal was a study in which reading scores were analyzed for all elementary schools in RNN, and those that were outperforming similar schools were identified. A handful of those “outlier” schools were then selected for a field study. The Field Study Team, made up of curriculum experts from the ISDs in West Michigan, visited each of the outlier schools.

The team found five elements these schools had in common, and compiled their findings for a Symposium held March 11, 2015. They call these common elements the Roots of Reading Success and share them here for all interested schools. Below are links to a series of professional videos filmed in the schools and taped segments from the Symposium’s live panel discussions, along with a valuable reflection tool for self-study and additional resources.

Page QuickLinks: Videos | Presentations | 3-2-1 Card | Reflection Tool


Key Findings of the Reading Now Network’s Field Study Team

Overview & Introduction to RNN

  • Video (Unavailable At This Time)

“Step By Step” by Teresa Jennings (ASCAP) © 2014 Plank Road Publishing, Inc. • All Rights Reserved • Used by permission •

Uncompromising Focus on Reading
Everything revolves around reading.

  • Video from schools

  • Panel discussion


Relevant Data Used Deeply
Staff & students live the data.

  • Video from schools

  • Panel discussion



Shared Leadership, Sustained Commitment
Principals define the “What,” teachers define the “How.”

  • Video from schools

  • Panel discussion


Classroom Management Focused on Learning
Engaged students are partners.

  • Video from schools

  • Panel discussion



Collective Responsibility to Every Child’s Success
“We each feel they are all our kids.”

  • Video from schools

  • Panel discussion


Q&A with Educators (from the five schools studied)


Conclusion/Inspiration Video


Brief Opener Video
A brief (1 ½ min. ), attention-grabbing opener for presenting the RNN Study Findings to a new audience. Ideal for opening a PD session or large audience about RNN. This was designed solely to pique audience interest ahead of a presentation, not to provide content.

(Special thanks to REMC Association of Michigan for hosting all these videos on their servers.)


RNN PDF of a PowerPoint—  This presentation details results of the field study and the process used.
Slides 1 to 22 – Overview of the Study
Slides 13 to 66 – Building Results
Slides 67 to 72 – 5 Overall Findings
Slides 73 to 77 – What It’s Not About
Slides 78 to 83 – Research Connections

3-2-1  Card— The 3-2-1 card can be used as part of staff training to gather feedback on the training as well as serve as a reminder to the participant of what they learned and what action they want to take as a result of the training. These can be collected and then mailed/returned to the learner after the event to keep the learning fresh in their mind.

Reading Now Network Reflection Tool— This can be used in conjunction with the posted videos to help facilitate conversation around each of the 5 findings.

This template is provided to help you reflect on the 5 findings from the Reading Now Network’s study of schools in the West Michigan area that outperformed their peers when controlling for poverty. The buildings in the study have managed to overcome the knowing-doing gap and implement these 5 things in a deep way.

This tool could be used by leadership teams, professional learning communities, or school improvement teams to assess your strengths in these 5 areas. You may want to consider implementation drivers in your reflection: capacity (selection, training, coaching), leadership (technical and adaptive) and organization (systems, facilitative administration, decision/data support). After capturing strengths in your school, begin to think how you might move your students to the next level.

Reading Now Network Resources

School superintendents from 13 West Michigan counties have formed the Reading Now Network (RNN)–a collective effort of superintendents, school boards and school districts throughout West Michigan to improve early literacy and, ultimately, student achievement across all grade levels.

Education leaders throughout West Michigan understand the importance of developing talent that is career ready and college capable. While there are a variety of metrics (8th grade math achievement, ACT and NCRC scores, graduation rates) that help us gauge our success, no milestone may be more indicative of students’ future achievement than their early reading proficiency. While good results on all commonly accepted metrics remain our mission, in no other area are the measures so reliable and valid, the prognosis for poor performance so clear, and the collective industry knowledge so deep.

That’s why superintendents have developed a collaborative initiative – the Reading Now Network – to insure we meet Michigan’s goal: a minimum 80% of third graders in all demographic groups read proficiently at grade level and that intervention strategies be systemically implemented for the 20% who, due to normal developmental differences, take a little longer.


Organizing Documents:

Reading Now Network Q&A
Reading Now Network Information
Sample of 3rd grade level reading and writing
Map of Region 3 counties/ISDs

Summer Reading Resources:

Research shows that students often experience significant reading loss during summer vacation. The Reading Now Network summer reading resources were created in order to provide parents with some simple, fun, strategies to help prevent summer reading loss. The resources are based on existing, well-established research on “summer slide” and strategies suggested by five of the network’s schools who have been identified as out-performing expectations based on student demographics in 3rd grade MEAP reading achievement.

Barnes and Noble
Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Library of Michigan
Family FUNdamentals
Super Summer Success Program
Michigan Reads! One Book One State Children’s Book Program


6 Make It Stick Flyer

In The News

Nearly 5,000 books donated to Muskegon school to improve early literacy   
 February 24, 2017

Michigan School Leaders Plot How to Improve Elementary Reading Proficiency   
 March 10, 2015

Why Are Some Schools High Achievers in Reading?   
(School News Network)
 March 17, 2015

Press Conference Launches Reading Now Network Initiative   
(School News Network)
 April 1, 2014

Superintendents From 70 Michigan School Districts to Collaborate on Third Grade Reading Proficiency   
 March 28, 2014

West Michigan School Superintendents React to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State Address   
 January 20, 2015

Superintendents Join Forces to Improve Regional Reading Scores   
(School News Network)
 February 4, 2014

For more information, contact the RNN educators by email at

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