literacy in district 65
￼A Comprehensive Approach to Literacy
Reading development does not take place in isolation; instead, a child develops simultaneously as a reader, listener, speaker, and writer. The emerging research is clear: Writing makes you a better reader and vice versa.
-Kelly Gallagher, 2006
Reading & Writing Instruction - Extended block of time when teachers plan for whole group, small group, and independent literacy instruction. Specific skills and strategies are taught based on grade level expectations and group needs. Teaching points become more more student- specific through small group instruction and one on one conferring. The workshop setting allows for differentiated supports based on student need.
Grammar - Skills are taught explicitly in the context of writing. Grammar is studied as a means to the end; it is a tool writers need to communicate their message effectively. Teachers and students study other writers’ writing to figure out how they use grammar, punctuation, and compose sentences. Expectation for grammar and mechanics have been established for the end of each grade level. Teachers also expect to reteach skills from one year to the next because the writing, like the reading . becomes increasingly sophisticated. Students need continuous support and review.
Word Study - Teachers know the level of learning and skills that need to be acquired throughout the year. They know which sight words must be learned in the primary grades and which levels of spelling development should be achieved. We use a program called Words Their Way which is based on the developmental stages of word learning. Spelling is differentiated based on each student’s knowledge of how words work. Teachers work with students to build their understanding of word patterns.
Vocabulary - Vocabulary instruction is integrated throughout the content. Teachers identify “high utility” words in each content area. They continually teach strategic problem-solving strategies, how to use context clues and words parts to build meaning of unknown words.
instruction for all learners
Instruction should be rigorous - This is more than finding a challenging text for each student. Rigor is as much about the layers of thinking we ask students to do and the levels of meaning they delve into.Through questioning techniques, writing in response to reading, and the discussions teachers facilitate, students’ thinking is challenged.
Instruction should be differentiated - Through assessments and individualized conferences, teachers determine how to provide opportunities for the children to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts taught. Workshop is the best instructional format for differentiation. Because teachers are able to confer with students one on one, they can naturally tailor instruction for each child’s personalized next step in their learning.
Instruction should be supportive - For students who need supplemental support, reading teachers, speech pathologists, special education teachers, and social workers, among others work with classroom teachers to make sure that each child is supported in a way that meets their needs so they are available to learn.