This commitment to foundational reading instruction is precisely what Central Point Elementary (CPE), in Central Point, OR, embodies in its mission — to empower its present students and lay an educational groundwork for generations to come.

We recently had the privilege of sitting down with CPE’s dedicated first-grade teachers, Candey Lee and Melissa Telford, as well as Assistant Principal Cara Taylor, and Principal Tiffany Slaughter, to discuss their transformative literacy journey with IMSE and its profound impact on students, teachers, and the community itself.

Prior to the IMSE courses, CPE teachers were not explicitly taught the Science of Reading (SoR) or Structured Literacy approach in their teacher prep programs. Instead, the main focus was balanced literacy and the whole language approach, adhering to the idea that if you immerse students enough with books, they will eventually just learn to read. While teachers implemented some SoR techniques through experience and individual exploration, the pieces weren’t coming together. Consequently, over the past six years, 50% of primary CPE students had not reached the benchmark by mid-year. The teachers of CPE, according to Candey, have been on a mission to “know better so we can do better,” showing just how committed these teachers are to creating a new doorway of opportunity for their students.

To date, 9 CPE teachers have completed 30 hours of in-person professional development with IMSE. However, this initial cohort has since grown and will continue, with 30 educators district-wide joining the ranks. The goal is to have all 18 CPE K-5 teachers trained eventually. After having had K-2 teachers trained, Assistant Principal Cara Taylor mentioned that she has “never experienced teachers going through a training and coming back so inspired to do the work.” 

The IMSE program has ignited a spark of excitement, motivation, and cohesiveness within the staff. Principal Tiffany Slaughter added, “I can’t think of a better way to drive cohesiveness with staff than your reading program.” At CPE, IMSE is bringing teachers together in a unified effort to provide students with the best possible reading instruction.

Through the course, IMSE formed the gel that brought the pieces together and elevated their abilities. While pieces of SoR were already implemented in the classroom, the crucial element of sequence and intentionality, along with the introduction of multimodal techniques and multimedia resources, made a significant difference in reading instruction and, consequently, students’ proficiency scores. In the 2022-23 school year, the percentage of low-risk learners in the Fall increased from 18% to an impressive 67% in the Spring, while the percentage of high-risk students decreased from 67% to 16% in the same time frame. 

These shifts in reading proficiency can be attributed to the use of spelling strategies like the CK rule (if a word is one syllable, one short vowel, with one /k/ sound at the end of the word, it’s spelled with -ck) and a focus on tongue and mouth positions during reading, boosting students’ confidence and competency. Not to mention, spelling skills have soared, and writing has significantly transformed. Within the first year of IMSE training, even the lowest proficiency readers can confidently tackle grade-level reading materials. As this will be the first year that CPE 1st and 2nd graders are coming into school with some existing IMSE training behind them, CPE teachers and administrators are confident they will see even more growth in the upcoming school year. The results speak for themselves when it comes to success, with the teachers and administrators looking toward the future.

The IMSE Impact stretches beyond the classroom, infiltrating the district and the community. As much as the children feel confident in their reading skills, their parents are also excited, bearing witness to remarkable changes in their children. Parents are astounded by the skills their children acquire, specifically the multimodal approach, for its understandability and ability to include parents in the learning process. Parents have indicated that they have seen a confident sense of calm among their children with less fear of school.

Central Point Elementary’s journey with IMSE is a testament to the power of well-structured, research-based reading instruction. Their transformation in reading outcomes, enthusiastic teachers, and confident students inspire educators everywhere. As CPE continues to set higher goals and spread its success, it’s clear that the future of reading instruction holds great promise for its students. It’s exciting to look to schools like CPE to see effective reading instruction creating a more vibrant and confident generation of learners.

You can download the full story here to learn how Central Point Elementary transformed reading instruction with IMSE.

To learn more about how your school or district can improve literacy education with IMSE, call (800) 646-9788 or email to speak with a member of our team today!

Please connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to get tips and tricks from your peers and us. Read the IMSE Journal to hear success stories from other schools and districts, and be sure to check out our digital resources for refreshers and tips.