• The Spark

Top Takeaways from Our Literacy Experts

Author:  The Spark Staff  | 05/31/2017

Students in Class

Our spring Lead the Way to Literacy Leadership Talks called upon national experts in the areas of language, literacy, assessment, and accelerating proficiency to share their research and experiences in the classroom. Here we share 5 practical tips from their webinars on how to support literacy growth—along with a link to their full Leadership Talks.

  1. Be clear about process.

    Dr. Kate Kinsella emphasizes the need to help students become more agile and confident communicators. She advises educators to help students develop language and literacy skills for various settings and audiences—“to really talk to them in an informed and impassionate manner about register….If we want our young scholars to be able to write competent, constructive responses, they need daily classroom interactions that coach them, support them, and require that they engage in constructive verbal responses that are complete, articulate responses.”

  2. Learn from struggling readers to help all readers.

    Dr. Laurie E. Cutting explains the importance of understanding reading development and the neurobiological and behavioral characteristics of children who struggle with reading. The strategies used to help children with dyslexia can benefit all students learning to read. “We know the most about word-level deficits and how to treat them. Systematic word-level instruction benefits all children…. Instruction using scientifically based principles results in better reading ability and brain changes.”

  3. ACE the district.

    Lamont Repollet and Sancha Gray, Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of the Asbury Park School District, share the journey that turned their district from struggling to thriving. To raise literacy achievement across the district, they followed the ACE mantra—Assess, Create, Execute. Sancha Gray led the charge to assess every program in use in the district, create a cohesive plan for improvement, and execute across the district.

    Elena Izquierdo quote

    “What this comprehensive literacy initiative has done, and what it has been providing through whole-group, small-group, and one-to-one coaching, is opportunities for our teachers to deepen their understanding around how you teach reading.”—Sancha Gray

  4. Focus on academic literacy.

    Dr. Elena Izquierdo highlights the kinds of policy and practice shifts required to help our long-term English language learners achieve their full potential. We must make sure we hold our English learners to rigorous standards and give them the opportunity to struggle with academic language.

  5. Offer a steady diet of complex texts.

    Malbert Smith quote

    In their Q & A panel discussion, assessment experts Dr. Ted Hasselbring, Dr. Malbert Smith, and Dr. Julie Alonzo focus largely on what Ted Hasselbring calls “Continuous Stealth Assessment.” The many advantages of a continuous measurement model highlighted by the panel include allowing more time for instruction, yielding more precise and reliable results, and enabling more responsive instruction.

In case you missed it…
Watch the complete Lead the Way to Literacy spring Leadership Talks.

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