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46 Stories of Improving Early Literacy Achievement in Schools

Sprig covers all the latest Pre-K to 3 announcements, projects, practices and stories in its newsletter, Root to Fruit, twice a month. If you are interested in the latest early learning news and updates, definitely join as a reader, so you never miss an edition.

A common feature of the newsletter is covering stories which discuss schools, school districts and school boards continually innovating to raise early literacy achievement for their youngest learners. 

This information is curated fresh twice a month, vetted for relevance in the early education sector, and presented to Root to Fruit readers.

If you are a reader, you are accustomed to these stories. 

To celebrate the upcoming 30th edition of Root to Fruit on Dec 7th (subscribe today if you want to receive the edition on that day), Sprig has accumulated 46 stories from prior editions to demonstrate what can be done to improve early literacy achievement. 

For the benefit of those not subscribed yet, this article is a compilation of all stories on improving early literacy achievement in schools and preschools. It features reading instruction strategies, tactics and action plans that have been considered or instituted by schools and early learning centers.

It is important to note that all of these stories have come from schools or early learning centers, because stories from other stakeholders are also covered in Root to Fruit, which are pertinent to the improvement of early literacy. 

These include teachers from unnamed schools, state legislature, federal and state programs, stage offices, foundations, think tanks, researchers, academic institutions, assessment centers, teacher’s associations, journalists, etc.

But all of the news items in this article have come from identified schools/school boards/school districts and preschools/early learning centers.

The stories are divided into improving early literacy achievement in early learning centers/preschools (Stories 1 to 7) and schools/school districts/ school boards (stories 8 to 46). Where appropriate, certain stories have been lumped together where the recommendation or action taken is the same.

If you want to implement some of the solutions suggested in these stories, please do have a look at Sprig’s homepage, where you can find reading, oral language, math and Indigenous language solutions, depending on your needs. 

 

Improving Early Literacy Achievement in Early Learning Centers/Preschools (Stories 1 to 7)

Improving Early Literacy Achievement in Early Learning Centers, Preschools

 

1.The Saint Joseph Early Learning Center: Elongating Early Learning Instruction Time and Expanding Early Learning Options

The Saint Joseph Early Learning Center out of Missouri, USA is a consolidated preschool that has been well-received by the community. Children from multiple preschools were transferred into a single location, where students attend for a half day (either morning or afternoon). 

The school district is exploring a longer school day to take in more students who are turning 3 throughout the year. Location expansion is another option for the future, but currently this is the solution devised to handle the need for additional classrooms.

 

2. Brooklyn Kindergarten Society: Culturally Responsive High Quality Offerings

With preschool and kindergarten kids back at school, Melisha Jackman, executive director at early-childhood education provider Brooklyn Kindergarten Society talks about three strategic priorities she’s embracing for this school year: 1) be more “culturally responsive to the needs of their children”, 2) focus on “high quality offerings”, and 3) ensure the “ infusion of inquiry, learning and creativity” from teachers to students. 

 

3. Bright Horizons Program: Proactively Seeking Parental Involvement

Cheretta Triplett-Smith, Director of the Bright Horizons program in Chicago says that parents have a lot more information now when comparing high-quality early education programs. She makes it clear that Bright Horizon takes a whole child approach, which focuses on school readiness by working on cognitive and language skills to communicate, but also the social and emotional skills to work with others. She asks parents to inquire about “teacher training and age-appropriate teaching methods” before enrolling their child to a preschool. 

 

4. UC San Diego’s Early Childhood Education Center: Foster Play-based and Inquiry-Based Learning

 

Matthew Proctor is the new director at UC San Diego’s Early Childhood Education Center, which provides child care and education services to all faculty members, staff and students. He talks about how the center curriculum focuses on child discovery where young students initiate learning. The objective is to embed math, language and other subjects naturally into what the children are already interested in playing. His goal is to further expand the program to accommodate more students. 

 

5. Little Nooks Preschool: House Preschool on Main School Site

Little Nooks Preschool will open in Kalama, Washington. The program will be fully inclusive and housed inside the local elementary school so kids are used to the building when transitioning to kindergarten. Superintendent Eric Nerison states the need for “early childhood development and kindergarten readiness” in Southwest Washington.

 

6. Rainbow Dreams: Adopt A Specialized Curriculum for Early Childhood Education

Rainbow Dreams in Clark County Nevada is an early learning center that houses only Pre-K and kindergarten classes. The school follows a full day model for both grades. The curriculum is hands-on, play-based, and with a purpose. It promotes age-appropriate rigorous learning. Rainbow Dreams officials believe in a structured education for young children, choosing to specialize in early childhood education. The enrollment was higher than anticipated this year, signaling an unmet need in the market.

 

7. The DeKalb County School District: Create New Centers in Existing Schools

The DeKalb County School District in Georgia is planning to add six new early learning centers in its existing schools between 2026 and 2030. Currently there are two such centres, which are not nearly enough to cope with the demand for early childhood education in the state’s third largest school district. The project will cost $15 million in total, and it is part of the 2022-2023 tentative budget that will be finalized in June.

 

Improving Early Literacy Achievement in Schools/School Districts/School Boards (Stories 8-46)

Improving Early Literacy Achievement in Schools, School Districts. School Boards

 

8. Winnipeg School Division: Set up an Office Dedicated to Educational Equity

Winnipeg School Division’s board of trustees has approved a motion to establish an education equity office by August 2022. It’s one among many examples of primary, secondary and postsecondary institutions taking such an initiative. Along with academic success and personalized learning, education equity also features as a prominent goal for many school districts in North America. It is a critical component of any school’s strategic vision. This is not surprising, given that Generation Z is the most diverse generation to date in North America. 

 

9. Kinoomaadziwin Education Body: Ensure Smooth Transitions Between Grade Configurations

Ontario and the Kinoomaadziwin Education Body have agreed to a three year $7.9 million agreement to support Anishinabek students in the province. The Master Education agreement includes improving access to culturally relevant resources and supports, supporting transitions between First Nation Schools and provincially funded schools (92% of Anishinabek students attend provincially funded schools), and sharing more data between the two education systems. 

 

10. Fort Worth School District: Ensure Learning Outside of the Classroom

Preschool and kindergarten students in the Fort Worth School District in Texas visit the museum every other week to learn about science and history. It is part of the Legacy Program, which brings diverse opportunities to students who need them. 

 

Implement Full-day Kindergarten

11. Boise School District

Boise School District in Idaho has approved free full-day kindergarten in all of its 32 elementary schools. Previously, full-day kindergarten was offered at 20 elementary schools. Superintendent Colby Dennis says that full-day kindergarten improves students’ literacy, math and social skills. It also makes enough time for both instruction and intervention. Governor Brad Little has proposed to devote $47 million for literacy programs in Idaho.

 

12. The Grande Prairie Public School Division (GPPSD)

The Grande Prairie Public School Division (GPPSD) in Alberta, expanded its pilot full-time kindergarten program from 6 to 13 of its 15 elementary schools in the district. Superintendent James Robinson says that the KinderPAL program has received glowing reviews. The program consists of curricular-focused lessons, but also structured playtime with early learning certified instructors.

 

13. Louis Riel School Division

Louis Riel School Division is planning to expand full-day kindergarten in south-east Winnipeg in 5 new buildings. It will also spend nearly $1 million dollars on diversity and inclusion initiatives including hiring more Indigenous educators and supporting ongoing reviews of curricula. Also included in the new proposed budget is a reduction of K-3 average class sizes. Smaller classes are a mark of high-quality education.

 

14. The Twin Falls School District

The Twin Falls School District in Idaho will offer full-day, tuition-free kindergarten at each of its nine elementary schools, beginning in the fall of 2022. Previously, five of its elementary schools had the program. Such an expansion was made possible by the increased state funding, as the state’s annual literacy budget increased from $26.1 million to $72.7 million. Director of Elementary Program, Jennine Peterson, says that less catching up is needed in Grade 1 if more time is allotted in kindergarten to build foundational skills. 

 

Use Learning Recovery Funds Appropriately

15. Pittsburgh Public Schools

Pittsburgh Public Schools’ superintendent, Wayne Walters says that “unfinished learning is multi-faceted and it’s not just instructionally-based.” Student achievement data last fall showed that Pittsburgh students in grades 2-7 had only three-quarters of the academic growth in math as they would in a typical year, and two-thirds in math.There is a focus on providing students with grade level work, but also providing remediation to those lacking skills to do this work. Certain schools in the school district had K-2 literacy specialists prior to the pandemic. Other school districts are looking to spend a portion of their ESSER money into providing K-3 literacy support.

 

16. The West Branch Local School District

The West Branch Local School District in Beloit, Ohio,  used its ESSER funds to introduce intervention initiatives for students who are not meeting grade-level standards. From kindergarten through Grade 5, the interventions use phonics programs which provide a consistent approach for building literacy skills. The small group sessions focus on comprehension, self-correction and fluency. Approximately 35% of grade 3 to grade 5 students have been moved out of this program due to demonstrated improvement.

 

17. The Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB): Rely on More than One Source of Assessments to Track Progress

The Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) in Guelph, ON, is requesting a deferral of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) testing in Grade 3 and Grade 6 by a year. Board trustee Mike Foley believes that the results would be skewed right now due to the increased anxiety and stress the students are facing. UGDSB’s Director of Education, Peter Sovran assures that besides the EQAO assessments data, the district also has report card data and teacher assessments data to understand student progress.

 

18. Somerset School District: Reconfiguring Grades to Foster a Bridge Between Pre-K and Early Elementary

The school district at Somerset, Massachusetts, is considering a reconfiguration of their early grades. Some potential options include pre-K to Grade 2, and Grade 3 to Grade 5. Neighboring school district at Westport had previously maintained a similar configuration, but recently changed again to a pre-K to kindergarten and Grade 1 to 4, configuration. Housing all grade levels in the same building helps to share knowledge and resources among teachers. Westport Superintendent, Thomas Aubin, is evaluating new configuration options again to increase literacy scores of students. 

 

Personalize Learning via One-on-one Tutoring

19. Toronto District School Board

Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) trustees discuss the need for greater personalization to better serve students. It includes figuring out who needs access to laptops, one-on-one tutoring, interviews with counselors, etc. TDSB is facing a funding shortfall of $60 million. The earlier cutbacks of reading coaches, speech pathologists, and social workers have not fared well at this time, when students need more help than ever.

 

20. Alexandria City Public Schools

April is school library month in the US, and Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPCS) in Virginia, provides its first grade students with one-on-one reading support twice a week to help strengthen their literacy skills. ACPCS libraries allow students to explore different types of literature, and use technology to get access to different sources of information. Superintendent Gregory Hutchins encourages all families to help their children read at home each day or participate in a literacy program.

 

21. Springfield Public Schools: Appoint Strategic Positions for Elementary Schools

Springfield Public Schools in Missouri, have announced a slew of leadership changes for the upcoming school year. Superintendent Grenitha Lathan says that “To achieve growth, we must objectively assess our strengths and identify areas for potential improvement”. One high-priority area of focus is Springfield’s elementary schools, where oversight will be shared amongst three leaders. There are new hires in the chief strategy and innovation officer and chief academic officer positions as well.

 

22. The Foothills School Division: Hire More Personnel to Provide Consistent Interventions

The Foothills School Division in Alberta is on a hiring spree to help students in grade 2 and 3 with their learning recovery.  Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services, Caroline Roberts says that they are making use of a grant that was focused on literacy and numeracy in the early years.Teachers and educational assistants have been hired to deliver consistent intervention services. These services will soon be extended to grade 1 as well. In total $673,000 will be spent.

 

Provide Ample Professional Learning Opportunities

23. Vernon School District

Vernon School District in British Columbia is supporting schools and teachers by providing key resources and professional learning opportunities in literacy research approaches. This year has seen a particular focus placed on the primary years of learning. The district is working with early language and literacy consultant Dr. Donna Kozak, on “systemic literacy practices” and the possibility of “becoming more responsive” to young students in kindergarten and grade 1.

 

24. The Lethbridge School Division

Beginning in September 2022, Alberta students will learn a new curriculum for K-3 English Language Arts and Literature and K-3 Math. But, there is a cloud of uncertainty over its implementation as the curriculum is not available yet. In a survey, 86% of Alberta Teachers’ Association members disagreed that they had the resources or supports needed to successfully implement the draft curriculum. The Lethbridge School Division Superintendent, Dr. Cheryl Gilmore, says that necessary structures will be put in place to prepare teachers and students before fall.

 

25. Union County School District: Focus on High Dosage Tutoring

Union County School District in North Carolina had adopted intensive tutoring before it became standard practice for remediating learning for returning students. It invested in technology related professional development which focused on the personalization of instruction and increasing the student’s role in choosing class activities. Superintendent Andrew Houlihan noted that the district’s high-poverty, lowest-performing schools were struggling with math, and implemented small group instruction to remedy it. Having proof of its effectiveness, it was similarly rolled out for students in all schools who had suffered from the learning interruption. 

 

Facilitate Teacher Collaboration

26. Little Rock School District

The Little Rock School District in Arkansas will close two of its 26 elementary school campuses in the 2022-23 school year. The school board voted to do this in order to generate savings to account for salary increases. Another reason was to maximize student’s academic benefits from larger schools which have multiple teachers per grade level and who collaborate on instruction. Collaborative planning is one of the best practices of effective teaching.

 

27. Holyoke Public Schools

At least half of the students, at all grade levels, at Holyoke Public Schools in Massachusetts are struggling with reading. The gap in learning is more pronounced in the lower grades, with 60% of Grade 2 students needing urgent intervention. Valerie Annear, the district’s chief instructional officer, said that the dip in literacy in Grade 2 is a national phenomenon. Though disappointed with the data, she urged for more well-rounded educational experience and giving teacher’s more collaboration time.

 

28. Ripple Rock Elementary: Employ Literacy Intervention Specialists to Focus on Foundational Skill sets

Ripple Rock Elementary in BC is providing individualized tutoring services to kindergarten and Grade 1 students to help with literacy. The program uses literacy intervention specialists who work on phonics, sight word acquisition, fluency, and comprehension with the students in face-to-face, one-on-one tutoring. This early literacy program is part of the efforts to improve literacy, which is one of the goals of the district’s strategic plan. Students are thus far very engaged, and an increase in grade-level reading proficiency is expected.

 

Focus on Biliteracy

29. The Lower Kuskokwim School District

The Lower Kuskokwim School District in Alaska visited the Grand Prairie Independent School District in Texas to discuss dual language best practices in the early grades. The former is working to preserve the Indigenous language of Yup’ik. The latter’s dual-language program focuses on promoting language skills, and also biliteracy and biculturalism. The program focuses not only on language, but also on culture and identity. By accessing the right content, students are fully immersed in their Indigenous language before proceeding with English.

 

30. Appoquinimink School District

Students are faring well in the Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs in Delaware, which was first introduced 10 years ago. DLI programs offering either Spanish or Mandarin are in 12 of the 15 school districts that operate elementary schools in Delaware. Students usually opt in the program in Kindergarten or Grade 1. The data shows that immersion students are doing as well or better than their counterparts in state assessments, while becoming proficient in two languages.

 

31. Graciela Garcia Elementary

Graciela Garcia Elementary, in Pharr, Texas, is a dual-language school where 77% of the students are emergent bilinguals. Maureen Ibarra, who teaches fluency and reading comprehension to students from grade 2 to grade 5 says that during the pandemic, many kids lost access to an adult who could help them with their assignments in their second language. There was a gap in learning for returning students. More holistic approaches for English learners are being considered.

 

Create New Schools and Gradually Add Grade Levels

32. The Loyola School

The Loyola School will be awarded Loyola University Maryland’s 2022 Milch Community Partnership Award for its service to families in Baltimore, Maryland. The school consists of an early learning center and a new elementary school, which plans to add a new grade level each year until 2025. The school seeks to improve socioeconomic disparities that exist in the city, through commitment to early childhood education and holistic development of children.

 

33. The Festus R-6 School District

The Festus R-6 School District in Missouri will have its own early learning program beginning in August 2023. Property has been bought for the site and the administrators have been selected who will head this project. The decision was made after seeing success in a neighboring school district’s program, the  Dunklin R-5 School District. But with its own program, more preschool-aged kids can enroll and greater academic continuity can be achieved as they transition from preschool to kindergarten.

 

34. Natomas Unified School District

In California, despite overall declining school enrollment in the state, suburban Sacramento is seeing an increase in enrollment due to more housing being built in the community. Natomas Unified School District in the city, opened a TK-8 school last year to account for the increasing student population. Elk Grove Unified School District, also in Sacramento, will open a new elementary school in the beginning of the next school year.

 

35. Change Health Charter School: Promote Learning Outside the Classroom

Change Health Charter School in Parkland County, Alberta, has a grand vision for outdoor learning. It wants to teach its kindergarten to Grade 9 students Alberta’s curriculum using the YWCA Camp Yowochas’s facilities, which is a 60 acre, year-round outdoor education centre. What is learned in the classroom in the morning can be experienced first-hand in the afternoon in a cross-curricular delivery model, says Camp Yowochas community manager Felicia Ochs. The school plans to open in September 2023.

 

36. Los Angeles Unified School District: Reduce Class Sizes

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, half of students are not meeting grade-level goals for reading and math, and the gap between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from well-to-do communities is widening. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has proposed some solutions to reverse the trends. They include expanding the school year, reducing class sizes, increasing the frequency and quality of summer schools, adding professional development systems for teachers and launching new opportunities for early learning.

 

37. Taylor School District: Focus on Hands-on Differentiated Instruction

In the Taylor School District in Wayne County, Michigan, the kindergarteners and grade 1 students play math games, which they have come to love, receiving positive encouragement as they progress. They are part of the math enrichment program, called High 5s, developed by the University of Michigan. It’s a hands-on, small-group program that has helped close the achievement gap, raising the number of students who performed at grade level by 20 percentage points. The program has also increased kindergartener’s math performance by 15%.

 

38. School District 8 (SD8): Develop a Long-Term Literacy Plan

School District 8 (SD8) in Kootenay Lake, BC, has developed a three-year district literacy plan to improve literacy proficiency, after data revealed a dip in reading and writing scores among primary learners. The Primary Literacy Coherence model looks at class profile to see what needs to be worked on for each student from kindergarten throughout their primary years. Currently, the focus is on building capacity for Grade 1 and 2 teachers.

 

39. Waterloo Region District School Board: Ensure there is Professional Development in Utilizing Technology

The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) is offering a variety of reading and math support in classrooms, and providing educators with additional professional learning to address any learning gaps. With increased funding from Ontario’s Learning Recovery Action plan, WRDSB has also extended its Summer Learning Program from Kindergarten to Grade 2, to Kindergarten to Grade 6. Associate Director Lila Read says that there has been unprecedented skill development in the utilization of technology.

 

40. Rhodes School District: Create More Resource Rooms

Rhodes School District in River Grove, IL, will add 8 new classrooms devoted to Kindergarten and Grade 1, as a part of its $14 million expansion. Included in the expansion is a large courtyard featuring two outdoor classroom spaces, breakout rooms for private individual or group instruction, and reading areas. To facilitate student learning, the need for more resource rooms was a common suggestion from teachers

 

41. The Oxford School District: Engage with the Community

The Oxford School District and the Lafayette County School District in Louisiana, have developed a literacy education program called Lafayette Oxford University Early Learning Collaborative (LOUELC). Last year, the program increased the reading proficiency of pre-K students from 19% to 72%. A big part of the program is a collaborative group of local organizations and community leaders, who work together to focus on targeted efforts to improve reading, both inside and outside the classroom.

 

Provide Summer Learning Opportunities

42: Greene Elementary School

The North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) recently released information showing that students (on average) fell 2 to 15 months behind their academic pace. NCDPI says that students will need intensive academic intervention to get back on track. West Greene Elementary School Principal, Phil Cook, says that professional development, guiding resources, differentiated instruction and summer learning are all being used to cover the learning gaps.

 

43. Algoma District School Board 

Algoma District School Board (ADSB) is offering the Elementary Summer Learning Program this year during the summer break. The objective of the program, which focuses on literacy skills in the primary grades, is to provide literacy intervention to those students who really need it, and to minimize the summer learning loss. ADSB has registered 101 in-person attendees and 13 virtual attendees for the program so far.

 

44. The Fulton City School District: Appoint Early Learning Specialist Positions

The Fulton City School District (FCSD) in New York has created a new Director of Early Childhood position. Kelly Gates, Instructional Coach for pre-K to Grade 2, has been appointed, based on her vast experience in providing direct coaching support to teachers, assisting with their lessons, and  providing feedback and resources. With this appointment, FCSD Superintendent Brian Pulvino hopes to provide educational experiences that are engaging and developmentally appropriate.

 

45. Steamboat Springs School District: Introduce New Literacy Focused Curriculums

Steamboat Springs School District received a $1.2 million grant from the Colorado Department of Education to hire three full-time literacy coaches, and a literacy consultant who will create measurable goals for the district. Part of this focus on early literacy also includes introducing a new literacy-focused curriculum across the district to implement a more consistent approach to reading instruction.

 

46. Shelby County Schools: Affect Evidence-based Instructional Changes

Alabama State Department of Education named Shelby County Schools and Cullman City Schools as the only two Alabama Science of Reading Spotlight school districts. This distinction is for their strong commitment to supporting the implementation of the Science of Reading (SoR) for K-3 students, sustaining evidence-based instructional changes and setting high expectations. Local reading specialists were properly backed by the leadership in these two districts to deepen teachers’ SoR knowledge.

 

Do you enjoy hearing such stories of innovation from schools working to increase literacy rates? There is more from where this came from! This article will be updated in the future. You can always visit the Sprig Blog for the latest Sprig Article, or simply subscribe to our newsletter, Root to Fruit, which provides a blog roundup twice a month. 

5 Hidden Gems for Teaching Reading in Schools

In early literacy, there is a growing body of evidence which outlines the best way to teach young children how to read. 

Sprig Learning has covered these topics previously, such as highlighting the need for focused professional development, supporting existing roles such as principals, literacy coaches, and primary teachers, taking on projects aimed at alleviating literacy inequity, and dissecting evidence-based trends that are delivering results.

Furthermore, Sprig has covered the academic return on investment angle to achieving higher literacy scores, advised on the implementation of strategic reading instruction, and discussed the ideal cost-effective early reading intervention. 

The linked articles above should provide plenty of reading material for anyone looking to understand the drivers of early literacy success and managing all aspects of policies, resources and systems that go into raising literacy scores for prekindergarten, kindergarten and elementary school children. 

However, there is more information to process when it comes to teaching reading in schools and early learning centers. 

 

More Gems for Teaching Reading and Developing Early Literacy

More Gems for Teaching Reading and Developing Early Literacy

In Sprig’s research thus far, there have been advice and case studies that fell outside the purview of previously written articles. These bits of wisdom deserve to be highlighted however, as they have shown to be just as successful in closing the early literacy gap. 

When these five gems of recommendations listed below were followed, schools and early learning centers were successfully able to surpass student language and literacy learning indicators targets.

 

1. Pinpoint Problem Areas in the Early Literacy Journey

Carmen Alvarez, Director of Early Childhood Learning in the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District in Texas, vouches for the ability to see where a student needs help, rather than just understanding if they are progressing or not. 

In her words “the ability for teachers to see the exact sounds a student is struggling with, and know which concepts students have mastered” are advantageous in teaching reading. 

It’s one thing to pass students along based on if they have met certain reading qualification criteria. It’s another approach to specifically zero in on certain difficulties that could hamper reading proficiency in the future. 

 

2. Integrated Reading Instruction for Holistic Reading Development

Dr. Gina Cervetti is an associate professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture at University of Michigan’s School of Education. She says that in the early years, “reading instruction needs to be integrated”. 

Learning the code of written language is critical, which deals with phonics and phonological awareness. Enriching conversations to develop student’s oral language and vocabulary is also critical in this equation for literacy success. 

This is not to be confused with a balanced approach. According to the evidence, alphabet knowledge and phonics instruction should be direct and systematic and inclusive for the whole classroom. But alongside these practices, there should also be enough conversations and reading sessions to help practice the reading concepts that are being taught.

 

3. Specifically Devise Strategies for Those Student Groups Who Need Extra Support

Strategic reading instruction should involve regular assessments, systematic instruction, and appropriate interventions for the whole classroom, so the right support can be assigned to students who should be in a different tier of support all together. 

Taking this bottom-up approach to instructional coverage ensures that every student receives an education that is of a high caliber, before being designated to another tier. 

Being assigned to another tier without receiving an evidence-based high-quality education can sometimes be at the detriment of other students, who need those same resources more.

 Sometimes however, a certain case may warrant devising a specific strategy for dealing with a certain group of students who are disadvantaged to begin with. This could be dyslexic students, or English Learner (EL) students.

Waltham Public Schools’s EL students grew to almost one fifth of the of the student body, which was twice the state average. These students fell behind their peers on foundational literacy measures and English and language arts assessments. 

To address the issues Waltham established a new elementary school to establish a language immersion program, used funds to invest in a literacy professional development program for dual language program’s teachers, and created a  summer program for the students. 

 

4. Use a Co-Teaching Arrangement to Provide Greater Supports

Three districts in northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts, made the decision to collaborate in order to strengthen inclusive practices for kids in grades PK–2 through a special education audit and professional development. 

A co-teaching approach was put into place where an occupational therapist was pushed into preschool and kindergarten classes to assist any students who needed it. 

Push-in versus pull-out strategies for differentiated instruction have their own merits, but there is no doubt that push-in strategies are more inclusive.

Push-in strategies deem the early literacy recovery or acceleration efforts serious enough, where they want the presence of both the homeroom teacher and the other specialist professional inside the classroom. These types of strategies want every student to benefit from a situation where these professionals co-teach with homeroom teachers in the classroom.

 

5. Differentiate Instructional Strategy Based on Parent Participation

Active parental involvement is an indicator of early literacy success. Passive participation is when the school has to prompt the parent to contribute or engage in their child’s learning process. Active participation is when the parents collaborate with the teacher and the school by themselves, before being told to. 

It’s great if parents have a way to see what is being taught, or receive insights into the learning strengths and weaknesses of their child, so they can offer help at home accordingly.  But beyond active participation, what ends up happening at home is also important for teachers to know so they can take necessary measures.

For example, the Conejo Valley Neighborhood for Learning Early Childhood Program in Ventura County, California, said they would reinforce the importance of daily reading. But soon they discovered that some parents had limited access to books. 

Upon learning this information, they “developed tips on how to use the same book repeatedly”. This specialized information was provided to those parents who needed this support. 

 

The Best Way to Teach Reading in Schools

Best way to teach reading

Along with the information covered in prior articles, Sprig hopes these 5 gems help schools and early learning centers to improve early literacy skills in students. 

The best way to teach reading will ultimately depend on the situation at the said school, but seeing what has worked in other places is always good for drawing inspiration, tweaking current strategies, or implementing new ideas. 

If you want more content on early literacy, be sure to check out the Sprig blog. We write blogs every week focusing on early reading instruction for both educators and administrators. Please consider joining our newsletter where you will be updated twice a month on the latest blogs, exclusive news from early learning and company updates.

A free trial of Sprig Reading is now available to all. It was developed accounting for many of the best practices teachers were using in the classroom to achieve up to 95% literacy at each grade level. 

With Sprig Reading, instructors can quickly learn how to assess what children already know and what they still need to learn in order to help them develop into strong and independent readers.

Sprig Reading offers student-centered, classroom-tested instructional and assessment strategies to improve the reading ability of every child. 

Both trial and subscription options are on the Sprig Reading page. 

Why Guided Play-based Learning in Early Literacy?

Play-based learning is an approach to learning that maintains a child’s enjoyment of either free play or guided play while engaging with learning content. 

Free play is purely initiated and driven by the student, while guided play has some degree of teacher involvement.

In early literacy, play-based learning is proven to have a significantly positive effect on narrative language ability and grammar. 

Play-based learning with teacher guidance has been shown to raise phonemic awareness and phonics skills in kindergarteners. 

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that when literacy materials and teacher involvement are added to play-based learning, language skills improve significantly. 

With such a strong association between guided play-based learning and the advancement of early literacy skills, it’s worthwhile to explore the benefits of play-based learning, its examples and the extent of teacher involvement that constitute it. 

Play-based learning is one approach to differentiate learning— something Sprig has covered in a previous article showing how differentiated learning supports all other forms of learning

Indeed some children may display a greater preference for play. 

But by itself, play-based learning as a strategy for the whole classroom is a great way to improve early literacy scores.

Play-based learning supports early literacy development in multiple ways.

 

Benefits of Play-based Learning. How it Supports Early Literacy.

Benefits of Play-based Learning. How it Supports Early Literacy.

 

Directly Impacts Language and Reading Acquisition

Play-based learning enhances children’s literacy and language development. It allows children a chance to both learn and practice their newly acquired skills. 

Children are able to connect oral and textual modes of communication as they learn about  the structure and meaning of new words.

 

Drives Cognitive and Social Development which Moderates Language Development

Play-based learning engages all of early learners’ senses. It allows them to express their thoughts and feelings, investigate their surroundings, and make connections between what they already know and new information and abilities. Such cognition ability is helpful in learning how to read. 

As early learners playfully express themselves to their classmates and teachers, they bring their language, traditions, and culture into the classroom. Such healthy social development aids reading ability. 

 

Builds Learning Language Positivity

Just as there is a concept called positive identity as a math learner, the same concept carries over to language. A growth mindset is required to develop the confidence to improve reading skills. 

Including play in learning activities fosters a love of learning languages in kids. Children are more likely to learn and explore new literacy topics when they appreciate their learning environment. Including play in the classroom improves memory and new information retention — important factors in learning how to read. 

 

Provides Deep Understanding of the Required Components of Reading

Play-based learning evokes many other types of learning, such as inquiry-based learning, problem-solving, curiosity-based learning, etc. Working on all of these different types of learning is great for clarifying knowledge structures that ultimately lead to a deep understanding of language. 

Decoding words and understanding language are crucial for reading comprehension. A deep understanding of both processes can be grasped by direction instruction and play-based practice.

 

Examples of Play-based Learning

Examples of Play-based Learning

Examples of play-based learning need not be newly introduced to any early childhood or primary educator out there. They are so common in fact, that when listing them, one immediately recognizes their place in the classroom. 

Role-playing, drawing, using playdough, blocks and puzzles for learning activities, dancing and singing, are all considered to be a part of play-based learning. 

However, more so than just knowing these play-based activities, it’s important to understand how to engage in these activities. The next section describes what play-based learning looks like in action. 

 

Characteristics of Guided Play. Continuum of Student-driven and Teacher-led Play-based Learning.

Characteristics of Guided Play. Continuum of Student-driven and Teacher-led Play-based Learning

Guided play was distinguished from free play at the opening of this article, to demonstrate how effective play-based learning was when it had some level of involvement from the teacher, either as an organizer, observer or planner. 

But guided play should include some free play inside its structure in order for it to be truly classified as play-based learning.  

Dr. Angela Pyle, an early childhood education researcher from the University of Toronto says that guided play “starts with free play driven by the children and their imaginations, and ends with direct instruction, which is completely driven by the teacher.”

 

Guided play can be thought of as both student and teacher initiated. 

A child can initiate play by starting to play with an object. The teacher can then use the opportunity to teach literacy skills such as building vocabulary around the items that the child is curious about. 

But if the teacher creates centers in the classroom that are specifically made for play, then this whole process can be thought of as teacher initiated. 

High-quality classrooms use hands-on activities that are carefully planned by the teachers. The teacher can teach a child how to learn, instead of just what to learn. 

  Purposeful play experiences can be designed by teachers to create richer learning experiences that are better remembered and internalized by early learners. 

 

Guided play experiences are directed by the child and facilitated by the teacher. 

The ratio of direction and facilitation can be adjusted to ensure that the lesson plans are being met. 

It is chosen by the student, but teachers plan, observe and guide the whole experience. This type of educational experience is self-chosen by the student, but it is sufficiently process oriented. 

 

What Sprig Does with Play-based Learning

What Sprig Does with Play-based Learning

This article barely scratches the surface when it comes to the wonders of play-based learning! 

Primarily, it’s important to establish the specific link between play and early literacy. When this bond is understood however, there are many play-based strategies that can be explored. Some of them are codified in the Sprig Reading App, an interactive tool for Pre-K to Grade 2 teachers to implement evidence-based reading instruction.

To systematically instruct and practice hundreds of essential early literacy skills, a healthy amount of play is required in the classroom. Many actionable tips are showcased in the teacher training modules that are contained within Sprig Reading. 

The teacher has great responsibility in choosing the type of play-based activities and controlling their level of involvement to ensure that their students reap maximum benefits from guided play-based learning. 

For every foundational reading skillset, there are playbooks designed by former educators and researchers that have a demonstrable impact on improving those very skillsets. 

If done well, the play-based learning approach fosters the interest and curiosity of the students  through exchanges that are meant to challenge the students’ thinking.

Children who co-construct their early reading experience with classmates, apply what they learn to real-world situations and make significant discoveries while they work towards learning objectives.

For early literacy, this amounts to playing with word and language concepts to sufficiently develop the right skill sets in order to start reading. 

The Ideal Online Professional Development for the Reading Teacher

A typical teacher spends 68 hours a year on professional development (PD) activities. With the inclusion of self-guided professional learning and courses, this annual total jumps to 89 hours. 

While this adds up to over two weeks of PD in a school year, it’s very important to prioritize what teachers are learning to ensure that the professional learning meets their expectations.

This is especially true for literacy instruction in preschool, kindergarten and Grades 1 to 3, where there is strong impetus for evidence-based reading instruction. 

Sprig covered the role of PD in strategic reading instruction in a previous article. It’s essential reading for anyone looking to better understand the linkage between PD and improving early literacy instruction. The article goes into the components of effective PD for reading instruction, its examples and its expectations.

This article will talk about the role of online PD, how it connects with the real purpose of PD, and how such a format can be useful for evidence-based reading instruction. 

It makes a case for online professional development being suited to raise student performance because of the advantages it provides to the reading teacher. 

For clarification, in this article, both the classroom teacher and literacy specialists are referred to as the reading teacher.  The term encompasses anyone who is involved in teaching early literacy to children. 

 

Why Online Professional Development?

Why Online Professional Development

Not having enough time is cited by school leaders as the greatest challenge to offering PD. Almost three quarters of school leaders say that PD happens on district-wide days off that are reserved for teacher in-service training. 

There is definitely a time crunch that is experienced by school systems and by reading teachers. 

Everyone wishes for more time for professional development without sacrificing any time that can be spent with students. 

Online professional development has the potential to alleviate this pressure by offering both on-demand and live sessions. 

Irrespective of if they are live, or pre-recorded, these sessions would be quicker to attend, and need not clash with other responsibilities a reading teacher might have. 

Despite higher rates of satisfaction reported with online PD, only 30% of schools use it. There is scope for improvement here where schools can increase the flexibility and versatility of professional development programs.

Online PD programs are more flexible as they let teachers participate from wherever they are. They are also more versatile as they can be quickly put together to address a certain topic and can be watched at any time that is convenient to the teacher’s busy schedule. 

 

Legislative Purpose of Professional Development. vs Actual Need. 

Legislative Purpose of Professional Development. vs Actual Need.

Before further addressing the merits of online PD, what is the legislative purpose of PD? Answering this question can help us to better understand the current situation and how it can be modified to enhance instruction for reading teachers. 

Most states require teachers to renew their licenses to continue working in the school system. These requirements vary by state, and only 11 states have clear instructions regarding the purpose of the renewal. 

However, the majority of states mandate that educators complete some sort of PD, suggesting that they want the relicensing procedure to promote and validate continuous professional development.

The majority of states’ renewal requirements place a higher priority on the accumulation of time-based credits obtained through formal college coursework or more conventional PD activities like in-service days or seminars.

These short-term events can be disjointed, where there is no one goal binding them together. 

They are thus poorly aligned with teachers’ improvement needs.  

There is currently a dearth of the kind of sustained, targeted and personalized PD opportunities. Research suggests that PD opportunities with these characteristics are more likely to improve early reading instruction and student performance.

 

Sustained PD

It’s better to maintain a consistent professional learning schedule. 

Setting some time aside is recommended for PD. Large school districts set aside dedicated time for PD, such as New York City, which has built-in PD time on Mondays.

 

Targeted PD

It’s better to create PD programs that are in line with the school’s or state’s vision, or in line with the latest research on reading instruction, for example. 

It’s important to do a needs assessment on the professional learning needs of school teachers to implement research-based recommendations. According to a guide released by the Institute of Education Sciences, such needs assessment should include teacher self-reflection and classroom observations. 

 

Personalized PD

It’s better to design PD in a way which leaves room for personalization for the teacher. 

It should reach a balance between fitting the current standards around the existing teaching practices and tailoring the existing teaching practices to fit the current standards. 

The change that is asked for should not be rigid where teachers have to abandon their existing practice. Rather, it should have enough opportunities for personalization where the teacher can adopt new practices while still upholding their core practice.

 

How Can Online PD Be a Force for Evidence-based Reading Instruction?

How Can Online PD Be a Force for Evidence-based Reading Instruction

The online modality can help drive the sustenance, targeting and personalization of PD, which were mentioned in the last section.

 

It drives sustenance by continually collecting teacher feedback and preparing a series of PD opportunities that cover every challenge, need or learning area requested by the teacher. 

Such PD sessions are immediately useful for the classroom teacher due to the hands-on tactics that are taught, which can be quickly transferred to the class. They are also useful resources for discussions to be had at the school. 

The convenience and quickness of online PD ensures that a culture of continuous learning is set at the school. 

 

It drives targeting by creating a series of sessions that are pertinent to the challenges faced by the teacher. It offers helpful language for prompting and guiding readers to help students master the craft of reading. 

It gives teachers clear, succinct, and useful guidelines and materials for organizing and teaching developmentally suitable evidence-based lessons. 

 

It drives personalization through the ability to save PD sessions for later viewing. In this way, it’s a permanent resource for the teacher who can view and learn from it multiple times at their own convenience.

They can organize sessions in a way that is most applicable to their teaching needs at the time, and not be subject to a one-size-fits-all approach. 

 

Sprig Reading PD workshops ensure that reading teachers have the knowledge and tools required in order to excel at their professions. They are live interactive sessions which are announced on all our social media platforms and our newsletter.

Want to stay up to date with the latest early learning announcements and insightful articles? Follow us on our social media channels and subscribe to Root to Fruit, Sprig’s newsletter on all things early learning. 

Evidence-based Early Literacy Trends and Lessons (With Examples)

During this time of post-pandemic learning recovery, school teachers and administrators are working hand in hand to improve the learning experience for students. 

It’s in everyone’s best interest that students succeed! Especially when it comes to early literacy and math, proficiency in these two fundamental domains are the building blocks of success in learning and life.

Sprig Learning has worked in tandem with its education partners over the years to create early learning solutions that promote a culture of early literacy equity. 

It’s a time of great change, where new approaches and resources are being tried to teach early readers, such as evidence-based reading instruction and structured literacy teaching resources. 

The change process is usually preceded and followed by unfreezing and refreezing respectively. If this 2019 report from Education Week is any indication of the viewpoints held by the majority of educators, we are still at the unfreezing stage.

But the blow dealt by the pandemic to the continuity of in-school learning has definitely hastened the need to take action and speed up the change process. 

The learning loss that has occurred has grabbed the attention of many school districts and teachers across North America. Some have started to implement practices that are more conducive to evidence-based early literacy. 

Nine such evidence-based instruction trends are reviewed in this article, with examples. The lesson learned from each trend is discussed as well.

Evidence-based Early Literacy Trends and Lessons

 

Trend: Aligning Professional Development with Teacher Needs for Certain Grade Configurations

At King Elementary in West Contra Costa Unified School district in Richmond, California, the school leadership team focused on aligning various professional learning spaces to help teachers improve their reading instruction. 

Teachers in each grade were asked what type of professional development their grade level teams needed.

In lower grades, the focus was on phonics instruction, in middle grades the focus was on chapter books, and in the upper grades the focus was on project-based reading units.

Lesson

Before choosing professional development for the teaching staff, ask to see how it will inform their strategic reading instruction

 

Trend: Obtaining Buy-in From All and Keeping Everyone on The Same Page

Schools in Pella Community School District in Pella, Iowa, use a Reading Plus Partnership pledge that is an agreement among students, parents, teachers, reading specialists and principals to reach the highest educational objectives and strive for academic success. 

Parents are kept informed about all interventions. Everything is recorded to ensure accountability. Instructional procedures, materials, number of sessions, length per session, individuals involved, and follow-up notes are all recorded.

Lesson

Establishing collective ownership of literacy goals is a recommended action for increasing literacy equity, but if there is a system in place to check in on every instructional detail, it makes collaboration easier between the parties involved, including parents. Parental involvement is an established indicator of early reading success. 

 

Trend: Creating An Atmosphere of Play-based Learning

Jess Keenan, part of the K-1 faculty, at Waynflete Academy in Maine, stresses the importance of play-based learning. Kindergartners are naturally curious and eager to learn, which lends itself well to making choices in the classroom, playing with materials, and interacting with others to learn more about the world around them via language and math. 

The teacher has a responsibility to provide ample opportunities to students throughout the school day to engage with written and spoken language. In Jess’s words, “an approach to learning that is teacher-led and driven by student interest can be a powerful platform for learning.”

Lesson

Evidence-based learning is not at loggerheads with play-based learning. Both practice and play are needed, and they often complement each other. Explicit instruction needs to be practiced by students through play, where they can joyfully practice the learned concepts. 

 

Trend: Setting Time Aside for Foundational Skills

When focusing on learning recovery, sometimes the impetus is to catch up to grade level material as soon as possible. But in the process,  it is important not to gloss over the foundational skills. 

Students have to be ready for the next year, but not without mastering the grade level skills first. Mastering a skill is different from merely catching up to it at the level of your peers. Knowing this, the Public schools in Milwaukee have set a standard for their teachers, where time is dedicated to focus on prerequisite skills every day. 

Lesson

Each student is unique. This includes their ability to learn and retain information. If something is understood but not practiced enough times, there is a chance of forgetting it. Thus, setting aside some time to practice the fundamentals of literacy is most important. 

 

Trend: Sustaining Small Group Instruction

Evidence suggests that tutoring in small groups is beneficial over time, regardless of the environment or circumstance the students are in. Research published in 2021 by Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform showed that consistent tutoring sessions can accelerate learning by two to 10 months.

The Bristol Tennessee City Schools (BTCS) has partnered with the Niswonger Foundation to deliver high-dosage and high-impact tutoring in literacy and math. BTCS will be reimbursed for its tutors’ and project coordinator’s salaries, as a part of this program. 

Lesson

Differentiated instruction as a strategy in early literacy is widely known. When such a practice is sustained over time, the students in smaller groups reap the benefits. Whenever there is a scope of personalized learning, the class should be split into smaller groups. This will however require regular formative assessments.   

 

Trend: Reallocating Time Blocks Based on Need

Tennessee’s Haywood County Schools (HCS) allocated a 45 minute daily intervention time slot reserved for students to work on a variety of skills, to the studying of foundational skills for all students.  Reading proficiency levels in Grade 3 at HCS jumped from 8% to almost 26% within the span of a year.

Lesson

Depending on the situation, it can be helpful to consolidate various types of interventions into one lesson for the whole classroom, that is designed to master the basics, and thereby reduce the likelihood of future interventions. Again, understanding the classroom profile is key here. 

 

Trend: Providing Intensive Instruction to Test Student’s Maximum Learning Potential

Juan, a Grade 2 student at an undisclosed elementary school, only knew half of the consonants and none of the vowels of the alphabet. Despite his assessment results reflecting that of a special needs student, he made fast progress in one school year where he moved up two reading levels. This sudden jump was a stark contrast from his prior two years of stagnation. 

It was the result of an intensive phonics intervention applied by his teacher who had received dozens of hours of training in several different research-based reading programs.

Lesson

Sometimes, progress, or lack thereof, is not steady. It can happen in spurts. By not underestimating the capabilities of the student and providing intensive instruction, young learners can quickly be brought up to speed. 

 

Trend: Aligning Intervention with Curriculum

Ethel I. Baker Elementary School in  Sacramento City Unified School District has What I Need (WIN) Classes, which consists of 45 minutes of  daily structured literacy intervention using a curriculum that is strong on phonological awareness, phonics and sight words. 

Many students who were lagging behind have moved up one grade level throughout the course of a school year. Proficiency in listening, reading and speaking have all improved since the introduction of the program. 

Lesson

Reading intervention is critical in the success of early readers. It matters if the intervention is for foundational skills, the mastering of which will form the building blocks of reading proficiency. Thus when choosing an ideal reading intervention program, it’s important to see what type of curriculum it adheres to. 

 

Learning Lessons From Early Literacy Trends

Learning Lessons From Early Literacy Trends

There is a lot to learn from those teachers and staff who have taken the bull by the horn when it comes to starting early literacy initiatives. They have started to implement evidence-based early literacy practices.

It’s always good to have the right plan, but sometimes the urgency of a situation forces action before a plan. 

The efficacy of school improvement plans is not universally agreed upon. According to a RAND Corporation survey, only 44% of teachers and 67% of principals believe school improvement plans change teaching practices. 

In order for such plans to be effective, teachers need to be involved in the strategic planning. However, Less than half of the teachers surveyed say that strategic planning is a collaborative project in their school. 

Sprig hopes that these evidence-based early literacy trends started by teaching teams at schools inspires new thinking. By looking at the results they have delivered thus far, a far broader application of these trends are warranted.

Need for Professional Development in Strategic Reading Instruction

Despite $18 billion spent each year on professional development (PD) in schools across the United States, the lack of satisfactory PD and training in the primary grades continues to be a recurrent theme in early learning. It was identified as one of the 5 major early learning challenges faced by schools, along with the lack of time, lack of pay, resource shortage, and learning loss. 

It’s not enough to have more and more PD. PD should be goal-oriented and improved upon annually to meet the demands of educators. Particularly at a time when there is a call for more evidence-based practices to be taught in teacher training programs and implemented in classrooms, PD needs to be strategic. 

When done right, PD can be a tool for strategic reading instruction. 

It can consolidate and further advance the learning gained from teacher preparatory programs on evidence-based instruction. 

Furthermore, it can introduce these concepts to teachers who have not heard of them before. 

Most importantly, it can provide practical and actionable guidance to teachers by which they can improve reading proficiency for their students. 

This article explores the goals of PD for strategic reading instruction and the ideal components of PD. It subsequently discusses the types of PD that are available, and the expectations of a high-quality PD program.

 

Professional Development for Strategic Reading Instruction

Professional Development for Strategic Reading Instruction

Professional development (PD) is the ongoing training received by teachers to improve their skills, knowledge, and expertise as a teacher. School districts provide PD to teachers to educate them about curricular adoptions or other school-wide and classroom initiatives. 

From a teachers’ perspective,  learning must introduce and reinforce the latest teaching practices so teachers can better support their students. Teachers also want PD to be aligned with the vision of their school district. Additionally, teachers want to improve their professional skills and methods which they know produce the best results for early reading success. 

For strategic reading instruction, all three of these reasons are important on their own merit.

 

Ongoing Learning

If there are new ways, methods or approaches to teach young students the science of reading, teachers should be equipped with this knowledge.

Vision Alignment

If the school has a particular goal towards improving reading scores, teachers must evaluate what they can do within the given timespan, to work towards achieving this goal. This can include seeking help or consultation.

Optimizing Teaching Practice

Teachers have amazing classroom insights. Rather than overhauling the way teachers teach, it’s more likely that the information learned and knowledge gained in PD sessions will be used to bolster existing teaching practices. The best case scenario for PD is when the teacher can use the information presented to address concerns, and improve their existing teaching practice. 

 

Components of Professional Development for Excelling in Reading Instruction

Components of Professional Development for Excelling in Reading Instruction

The positive effect of professional development on student reading performance is well established, where increased quality of teaching and greater teacher knowledge improves reading outcomes. 

In a meta-analysis of 35 studies that featured an experimental design, controlled for student characteristics and other contextual variables, seven commonly shared PD traits were identified that lead to successful student outcomes.

 

Successful PD programs:

  1. Focus on teaching strategies associated with specific curriculum content.
  2. Incorporate active learning to get hands-on experience in designing and practicing teaching strategies. 
  3. Support collaboration with other teachers, members of teaching staff and paraprofessionals.
  4. Uses models of effective practice.
  5. Provide coaching and expert support.
  6. Offer opportunities for feedback and reflection.
  7. Is of sustained duration. 

When choosing PD, it’s important to ask if these seven components are reflected in the program. PD today can be executed in multiple ways. Some examples follow in the next section. 

 

Professional Development Examples in Early Literacy 

Professional Development Examples in Early Literacy

Professional development today is much more than passive training outside of school hours. Sometimes, it is collaborative in nature, and is integrated into the daily teacher schedule. 

Also, PD need not necessarily consist of just one activity or session at a particular point in time. PD can take the form of a PD plan, which can consist of multiple PD activities conducted over a certain period of time. 

Today’s world of high-speed communications is advantageous for professional development, where it’s possible to have interactive learning sessions from the comfort of your home or school office, as well as collaborate with others who may not be in the same vicinity. 

PD such as action research, attending conferences, curriculum planning, curriculum mapping, professional books and journals, peer coaching, workshops, and/or seminars can now all be conducted online. Of course, there are certain advantages to doing them in-person and in-school. 

There are other forms of PD which cannot be conducted by using virtual means only. They best lend themselves to being done on site.  Namely: classroom/school visitation, education exchange and examining student work.

There is another class of PD that is more long-term, such as: professional development schools, leadership development programs, journaling and school improvement teams. 

As long as these PD modalities have the seven characteristics covered in the previous section, the likelihood of success of early readers increases. 

 

Professional Development Expectations

Professional Development Expectations

 What does ideal PD for early reading instruction look like? 

Due to the:

  • range of modalities varying in length, location and timespan
  • the variety of goals that range from support, alignment and improvement
  • and the specific content area addressed by PD

…there are many options for constructing the ideal PD.

Sprig Learning  provides evidence-based PD that is grounded in foundational reading skills that have been proven to create successful readers by Grade 3. 

All of the PD material is the final product of decades of research and reports on effective reading instruction. All of the workshop best practices are packed into Sprig Reading, an evidence-based interactive tool for Pre-K to 2 teachers. It is designed to be used with any reading program or approach.

Attend Sprig’s Early Reading Assessment, Instruction and Planning Interactive Workshop this Tuesday, October 11. As the first part of a multi-part workshop series on evidence-based instruction, educators can expect to learn what has worked best for classrooms engaged in strategic reading instruction.

Sprig Reading workshops contain information that can be integrated into existing curriculums across multiple content areas to improve reading scores. They are created to help teachers support both pre-emergent and emergent readers. 

By attending these workshops, teachers can expect to increase their knowledge on the assessment-instructional link, progress monitoring and goal-setting for both individual readers and smaller groups of students with similar needs.