Our approach combines comprehensive,
research-based instruction with high
expectations for student achievement. What we
know works best is based on evidence of
student results and our experience working
with teachers in and out of the classroom.
Evidence that is the basis for our approach indicates that:
Five major areas of reading instruction should be taught explicitly—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension.
Becoming a skilled reader involves the ability to identify words (decoding) and understand their meaning and the message they convey (comprehension). A skilled reader is fluent with both.
Aptitude with spoken language is the foundation for learning to read. This ability continues to develop throughout the school years and leads to advanced reading and writing skills.
Literacy includes speaking, listening, reading, spelling, writing, and viewing. All are related and each one supports and reinforces the development of the others.
Teachers help build pathways for faster automatic word recognition by continually linking oral, auditory, visual and kinesthetic elements.
High quality reading instruction in kindergarten through third grade is essential for all children to prevent reading problems from developing. This is the foundation of the Response to Intervention (i.e., Scientific Research-Based Interventions — SRBI) model, now required in Connecticut.
It is critical to catch children before they fail. Regular screening to identify students who are at risk for reading failure and subsequent early intervention are key.
Tailoring—or differentiating—instruction, based on student assessment, is important for all children, not just for those who struggle or are at risk. Teachers must know where students are in order to determine how to move them to the next level.
Teachers should choose from a variety of books to give students practice in mastering reading skills. Different types of text are matched to students’ needs, including:
Many schools have increasing numbers of English-language learners (ELL). These students benefit from explicit and direct language-focused literacy instruction that highlights the similarities and differences between a student’s first language and English.
Selected Sources of Evidence
Our approach is based on knowledge that combines research with our experience applying that research in the classroom. We have learned that:
Our collaborative process enables school administrators and educators to become more effective literacy leaders.
Mutual respect between educators and our mentors leads to well defined roles and responsibilities and the ability to meet high expectations.
Dedicated time for professional development, scheduling flexibility and budgets for classroom materials are prerequisites for success.
Formal and informal observations by principals provide specific feedback that can influence teacher understanding, buy-in and accountability.
School-wide behavioral models extend and improve learning opportunities.
Careful selection and intensive instruction of a school- or district-wide ‘point person’ builds capacity and is critical to insuring that our approach is sustained.
|“Effective professional development for educators involves reflection,
discussion, support, collaboration and continuous reference to the classroom
and student work.
Teachers need an array of skills and knowledge to successfully teach students
to read well, and they need to continue to develop their
professional capacity throughout their careers.”