Milwaukee schools see reading gains

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced continued improvements in year to year reading scores at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). A comparison of test scores from the annual Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) show that more than 59 percent of schools had increases in the number of students rated proficient in reading, with as many as 25 recording double-digit increases.

The overall WKCE results for MPS are particularly significant, given the high mobility of city students, a student poverty rate of more than 80% and the high number of special education students now concentrated in MPS.

As part of its first-ever, district-wide literacy initiative, the school district implemented a series of HMH programs into classrooms. Houghton Mifflin Pre-K was chosen for preschoolers, Journeys for grades K–5, and McDougal Littell Literature for grades 6–8.

HMH consultants worked cooperatively with MPS staff to ensure the implementation of purchased materials was carefully planned and executed within the framework of the MPS Comprehensive Literacy Plan. Over a three-week period last summer, more than 3,000 MPS teachers participated in a combined training of HMH K-8 Materials and the MPS Comprehensive Literacy Plan. In addition, HMH and MPS Literacy Coaches trained all MPS administrators on what to look for in exemplary classrooms using the Comprehensive Literacy Plan and HMH materials.

The HMH curriculum replaced 17 unique legacy curricula, standardizing instruction for approximately 60,000 students in 130 different schools. In addition to the new curriculum and text books, the district generated more excitement for reading through monthly programs with children’s book icon Curious George, which students at a school could “earn” by writing letters of invitation to the fabled monkey, and rubber wristbands that proclaimed the “Learning to read and reading to learn” message.

Houghton Mifflin Pre-K is a research-based interactive curriculum aligned with key Pre-K learning goals that utilizes flexible materials and age-appropriate resources to equip pre-K students with the foundational skills they need to succeed as lifelong learners. To learn more about Houghton Mifflin Pre-K, visit .

Journeys is the strongest core reader on the market and the program of choice among teachers nationwide. Because Journeys was developed in partnership with educators, its balanced literacy approach addresses the needs of a wide range of students including English Language Learners (ELL) and other at-risk students. Journeys features Guided Reading resources — authored by Irene Fountas, an expert in the field of small-group instruction — as well as an innovative Adventure Unit magazine that enables intermediate-grade students to practice learned skills in a real-world context.

Standards-based McDougal Littell Literature takes an interactive, innovative and flexible approach to literature instruction. Developed by a team of distinguished authors that includes Janet Allen, Robert Marzano and Carol Tomlinson, McDougal Littell Literature utilizes a host of integrated features to develop key skills.