A BIG Idea: SPIRE Decoders Improve Fluency for Students in Double Dose Reading Program

Learning specialist Anna Rentz (née Levy) applied for a 2018–19 Brandeis Innovation Grant (BIG) with hopes of purchasing SPIRE leveled reading books for students in the Double Dose reading program. SPIRE is a research-proven reading program for students who need additional support as they learn to read. “SPIRE texts are engaging and leveled appropriately for our students,” explains Ms. Rentz. “Kids absolutely love them!” The BIG program funded the purchase of six sets of 120 decodable readers (that’s 720 books!) that cover topics in science, social studies, and literature, and expose students to a variety of genres including biographies, fables, poetry, Greek myth, and science experiments. “These books help students build self-confidence, and also coincide with the Wilson’s Fundation curriculum,” adds Ms. Rentz, “so students can practice fluency with the concepts learned in the classroom.
“These decodable books have changed the experience of reading in small groups, and have helped make reading more fun and manageable for students in the Double Dose reading program. Without this grant, we would not have been able to bring these new books to our students and I am already seeing the impact they are having on our students.”

The Brandeis Innovation Grant program is made possible by the generosity of a Brandeis family and provides one-time grants to teachers who are interested in trying new strategies or bringing new experiences to our students. To learn how your family can make an impact at Brandeis by supporting the school with a major gift, contact Director of Development Stacy Youkilis at