January 2020 Vol. 22

January 2020!

The beginning of every new year is all about setting goals for how we can better ourselves. We set aspirations for eating healthier, exercising more, reading more books, etc. Resolutions are things that we already know we should be doing but have somehow just put it at the end of our list of priorities. This happens in the classroom too. In the hustle and bustle of report cards, parent emails, PLC meetings, extra-curricular commitments, and all other commitments, we sometimes ignore the essentials of quality instruction. Starting off this new year, let's revisit some of those best practices to ensure high quality instruction occurs on a daily basis!

IDOE Disciplinary Literacy Book Study! Sign-up Now!

Join our book study where we will read The Writing Revolution (TWR) by the well-respected researchers, Judith C. Hochman and Natalie Wexler.

TWR introduces a revolutionary way of explicitly and systematically integrating evidenced-based writing strategies that apply to all K-12 subject areas. IDOE's Literacy Team will facilitate all participants through how to teach and use accessible strategies to train students to write a single sentence through the development of multiple paragraph essays.

Teachers who participate will have opportunities to read, create, and collaborate with fellow educators of all disciplines from across the state of Indiana with the common goal of improving writing instruction for all students! All participants will earn PGPs upon completion of the book study.

How to set up an account on Moodle.

Access Moodle here.

Enrollment code: TWR2020

Literacy Updates from IDOE

Literacy Framework

The Literacy Framework is a tool you can use to curriculum map and plan for this upcoming school year. Does your school utilize a curriculum map, scope and sequence, or pacing guide? Use the Literacy Framework to dive into each standard through "I can" statements, question stems, practical examples, and digital resources!

Have special requests for support? Feel free to reach out to us at any time. That's what we are here for!

Ideas and Insight

New Year's Resolutions: Classroom Edition

Dedicated, Uninterrupted Reading Time

Setting time aside in the school day with the specific intent for students to read is essential to effective literacy instruction. This applies to both primary and secondary grades.


Evidence from the National Reading Panel indicates that 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction per day is required in order for sufficient reading development so students may be able to read on grade level. The evidence also indicates that not only is time required, but delivery of instruction needs to be done in an explicit, differentiated, organized, and purposeful manner. This also includes time for teacher modeling and student practice with feedback. Delivering instruction in this manner will meet the needs of all students, including our most at-risk students.

During the 90 minute reading block the five major reading components of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension) must be addressed. The five components address all aspects of what is needed for reading success, and are interwoven; if one component is weak all will be affected.

*Please note, although only kindergarten through third grade have a mandatory uninterrupted 90 minute reading block, we encourage all grades to dedicate uninterrupted time to reading.


Reading should be taking place in all classrooms, not just ELA. We want students to be engaged in a variety of reading activities. Independent, small group, and whole group reading strategies all provide different purposes for literacy development.

Independent: When students are provided time to read independently, they are going to become stronger readers; their vocabulary development, reading stamina, and reading fluency will all increase. One key point is when students are reading independently, you should be too! It is essential for teachers to model the importance of independent reading.

Small Group: Create a jigsaw activity. Split up a piece of reading into sections and assign each member of a group one section of the reading. Once each student is done, prompt the students with discussion questions. What did each person read? How do the pieces relate to one another? What points were made to create the author's perspective?

Whole Group: It is easy for students to become disengaged when reading in a full group. One key strategy teachers can employ is to provide students with a task prior to reading. This task is as simple as posing a question and encouraging students to look for evidence that addresses that question while reading. Tell students that when they have found something relevant to raise their hand and address it to the class. This creates engaged readers who then have the opportunity to lead group discussions.

Teaching Culturally Responsive Texts

All students, K-12, need to feel that their voice is being represented in the literature that is presented in the classroom. Students become more engaged when they feel that they can relate to the characters. Mike Schomker says in his book Focus, "literature is...an opportunity to weigh our own values and emotional resonance against those of the author and the characters he or she creates" (97). If Hoosier students only read about characters from the dominant culture, it is impossible for them to consider cultures and values different than their own.

Demographics to consider:



Socio-economic class

Sexual orientation




All of these characteristics are part of a student's culture. Try to tap into multiple combinations of these so that each student has an opportunity to be part of the conversation.

Here is a great podcast that references TONS of great books that are targeted at YA students from all different backgrounds.

Data-Informed Instruction:

The only way we can know what is working for the students in our classroom is to keep track of the data that shows their progress. Every decision being made in the classroom should be supported by data that has been collected.

In the text, Driven By Data by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, it lines out four key principles of data informed instruction are outlined:

Assessment: create rigorous interim assessments that provide meaningful data

Analysis: examine the results of assessments to identify the causes of both strengths and shortcomings

Action: teach effectively what students most need to learn

Culture: create an environment in which data-informed instruction can survive and thrive

Keep these principles in mind when planning everything from daily lesson plans to complete units. The data will always help focus your instruction and guarantee that all students are receiving equitable opportunities to learn.

Book Suggestions

Educator Opportunities to Check Out!

Indiana's Second Annual Educating the Whole Child Summit: February 19-20

Registration for the Second Annual Indiana’s Educating the Whole Child Summit is live and can be found here with keynote speakers: Dr. Isaiah Pickens and Dr. Adam Saenz. Please note that if you are having one person register a group of people for your district, they will have to submit separate registrations by leaving and re-entering registration. Click here for the Handle with Care presentation.

Mock Caldecott Award Workshop

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Indiana Council of Teachers of English (ICTE)

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Indiana State Museum

The Indiana State Museum offers free field trips to schools! Come check out the upcoming exhibit starting February 1 that explores the opioid crisis in the United States. There are lots of interactive activities to help inform students on the brain chemistry that leads to addiction and personal stories to help end the stigma of addiction.
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Literacy and Tech: Thought of the Month!

Amazon Inspire

Amazon Inspire is an open collaboration service that helps teachers to easily discover, gather, and share free and open educational resources with their community.

Connect on Twitter!

It's been reported that over 4 million educators use Twitter for professional conversations. As educators, there is so much we can learn from each other. We invite you to connect with us and each other!

1. Tweet about all things LITERACY using #INspirEDlit

2. Follow the hashtag and connect with other coaches and educators

3. Follow @EducateIN for the latest updates from Indiana Department of Education

4. Follow your IDOE Literacy Team: @RoseTomishima, @KellyKWaller, & @JMRisch1

Literacy's Who To Follow:

Who: Indy Reads

Handle: @indyreads

What: Promoting and improving the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana

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