How our reading platform changed our instruction

Nearly all students can learn how to read, yet only 35 percent of them are reading proficiently. This widening gap seems insurmountable, but the bottom line is that teachers are the most essential factor in student reading success.

However, here’s the problem as I see it: only about half of all teaching institutions effectively prepare teachers for literacy instruction. And while it’s easy to assume that the schooling, master’s degrees, and pre-service training adequately prepare us to walk into the classroom and teach students how to read, the reality is that this training isn’t enough.

To truly master reading instruction, teachers need more. Fortunately, our cooperative’s previous director recognized this and started using LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) Suite. The program teaches the skills needed to master the fundamentals of reading instruction, including phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, writing and language.  …Read More

Hemet Unified School District Adopts LETRS for New Two-Year Professional Learning Program

BOSTON (April 21, 2022) – Hemet Unified School District in Riverside County, California, has adopted LETRS® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional learning programs for its teachers and administrators. Offered by Lexia® Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, LETRS provides educators with the deep knowledge required to be literacy and language experts in the science of reading.

Developed by Dr. Louisa Moats and leaders in the field of literacy, the LETRS Suite provides practical support with tools that are available 24/7—online and in print. It also offers professional learning sessions led by national LETRS experts. These sessions provide classroom application examples of the learning and refine and extend participants’ understanding of the content. Hemet USD began rolling out LETRS in March 2022 as a two-year, cohort-based program. The district has implemented two professional learning programs:

·        LETRS for Educators…Read More

How to improve literacy through the science of reading

The Fall 2021 PALS Report found that reading skills in young learners are at a 20-year low. Over the past three years, reports have shown there had been little growth in reading and in some cases, states were backsliding. The majority of students who are exiting our school system do not have the reading skills they need to be successful at a job that requires reading skills.

I have analyzed how literacy education has evolved, exploring why we are where we are today and how we can improve. Educators can improve their K-3 students’ reading achievements by focusing instruction on structures of the English language. By applying findings from the science of reading, educators can positively affect students’ confidence in their academic careers and beyond. Here’s how to get started.

Assessing Your Curriculum for Elements of Structured Literacy

The science of reading is massive, and there’s much to learn from it. Structured Literacy is the practical approach that helps educators implement that science.…Read More

3 ways to improve science literacy

While teachers often experience the same year or course again and again, students and their families can really see how students change over the years in school. Families can see that what students learn each year builds on what has come before.

But for that to happen efficiently and effectively, the curriculum must be designed so that it builds coherently. Learning progressions help educators see a student’s advancement.

A learning progression is an articulation of the steps a student might go through as they work toward mastery of a process or concept. As the Framework for K-12 Science Education points out, “If mastery of a core idea in a science discipline is the ultimate educational destination, then well-designed learning progressions provide a map of the routes that can be taken to reach that destination.”…Read More

A 4-step approach to leveraging technology in instruction

The adoption and assortment of technology in K-12 classrooms has soared over the past decade, posing challenges for schools tasked with deciding which technologies to introduce into their classrooms. Too often, these conversations around leveraging technology in instruction revolve around the what and how of physical tools — what to acquire and how to use it. However, we need to first start with the why of technology to truly address learning outcomes for all students.

Technology needs to be evaluated and chosen for its ability to engage students in meaningful and productive ways within a culture of accelerated learning. Students who are proficient with digital literacy skills and practices will have the advantage of being flexible and adaptive critical thinkers who can engage with new technology in meaningful and productive ways in every content area.

4 Steps to Integrating Technology with Purpose…Read More

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Makes Nearly $5 Million Investment in Literacy Solutions Following New Research Report

Goodlettsville, Tennessee – March 31, 2022 – The Dollar General Literacy Foundation (DGLF) announced a commitment of approximately $5 million in grants to five national organizations working to address the critical literacy needs identified in its new State of American Literacy Report released today. The grant recipients, including Save the Children, The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, DonorsChoose, Discovery Education and the Children’s Defense Fund, are focused on advancing literacy instruction and access, developing learning tools and technology and providing professional development for instructors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has set back many in their education and literacy learning efforts and threatens to deepen the literacy crisis,” said Denine Torr, executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and vice president of corporate social responsibility at Dollar General. “We know the devastating impacts of low literacy on an individual’s quality of life – limiting opportunities for advancement in the workforce, access to higher education, engagement in civic activity, and even effects on health. Through our research we are better able to understand the needs of the field and empower teachers, students and communities to harness the power of literacy and education at this critical juncture.”

State of American Literacy Report Findings…Read More

Financial Literacy Challenge from Jackson Charitable Foundation and Discovery Education Empowering Communities to Win $10,000 for Their Schools Now Open

Silver Spring, Md. (Monday, March 14, 2022) – Jackson Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission to advance financial knowledge on a national scale, and Discovery Education today opened the 6th annual Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids Contest. The contest enables communities to vote for their school to win $10,000 that can be used for critical educator resources that teach kids how to earn, save, spend, and donate.   

This national contest encourages elementary school teachers, families, and community members to show their commitment to financial education by voting online daily for their school to receive a prize package featuring: 

  • A grant of $10,000 to build a brighter financial future at the winning school.  
  • $1,000 to be donated to the charity of the school’s choice. 
  • An interactive, hands-on, educational financial literacy event hosted by Discovery Education that brings to life Cha-Ching’s four pillars of financial education – earn, save, spend, and donate. 

Participants may enter up to once a day on behalf of their school from now through June 17, 2022. Learn more and vote for your school.  …Read More