Links to Literacy


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DIY Literacy Video Series

This video series will take place for the next eight weeks. Each week we take on a problem that was sent in by teachers across the country. This series is squarely in the spirit of Do It Yourself .

Kate and Maggie

Week #1:

Problem of the Week – Writers aren’t using much punctuation as they write. They struggle to use punctuation independently.

Teaching Tool of the Week – A demonstration notebook

You can find a download of the teaching tool here.

Week #2:

Problem of the Week – Readers are in a slump with their reading notebooks. Despite being taught lots of creative ways to respond to their reading, Emily and Lilla notice their students gravitating to only retelling the plots in their books. They are struggling to have students respond to their reading with variety and choice.

Teaching Tool of the Week – A teaching chart.

White Literacy Folders

Must include in the white literacy folder:


  • Spring Running Record
  • One final On-demand writing either: persuasive, informative or narrative. This ensures consistency across grade levels and a true reflection of the students’ work.
  • Fourth grade only send the fourth grade spring RR and final on-demand

You may choose another writing to share if you wish.


  • Running records required based on spring MAP score (5th grade 207, 6th grade 212
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Writing Units of Study Resources Online

The resources from the Units of Study CDs are now readily accessible online. Follow the link and enter the product code WUOS_GR followed by your grade level. (For example, Grade 5 is WUOS_GR5, Kindergarten is WUOS_K) . It will prompt you to put in a specific word from a page in one of your Units of Study spirals. Bookmark this page and you will have easy access to these resources. If you don’t have a Heinemann account you will need to set that up. Just click Register and follow the easy steps.

Student Choice in Reading

Every Child, Every Day

Richard Allington and Rachael E. Gabriel addressed the six elements of effective reading instruction in their article. The elements don't require much time or money—just educators' decision to put them in place.

1. Every child reads something he or she chooses.

2. Every child reads accurately.

3. Every child reads something he or she understands.

4. Every child writes about something personally meaningful.

5. Every child talks with peers about reading and writing.

6. Every child listens to a fluent adult read aloud.


  • Students are more likely to read more, understand more, and likely to continue reading when they have choice in what they are reading.
  • Students need TIME to read books they can read accurately and understand.
  • Choice in writing allows students to write about things that they care about.
  • Providing students with the time to talk about text helps them to understand what they read and engage in the text.
  • Listening to a fluent adult read builds students' skills. Students in ALL grade levels should experience a read aloud daily.

Teaching Content Area Literacy & Disciplinary Literacy

What is the difference between content-area literacy and disciplinary literacy?

Content area literacy focuses on the ability to use reading and writing to learn the subject matter in a discipline.

Wisconsin defines disciplinary literacy as the confluence of content knowledge, experiences, and skills merged with the ability to read, write, listen, speak, think critically and perform in a way that is meaningful within the context of a given field.

The SEDL Insights article authors Romona Chauvin and Kathleen Theodore explain the importance teachers understanding these two types of literacy that are crucial to helping students become college and career ready. The article analyzes the differences between the strategies used to teach and gives recommendations are intended for all teachers of all students and includes strategies that can be implemented in classrooms as well as professional development supports:

1. Provide an approach to content instruction that cultivates the skills for 21st century literacy: critical thinking communication, collaboration, and creativity.

2. Take charge of designing authentic, real work experiences and assessments.

3. Commit to a conceptual framework of learning by doing.

4. Provide opportunities for students to use inquiry, key habits of practice, and academic language.

5. Implement ongoing, job-embedded professional development and collaboration by discipline with teachers as designers and facilitators.

For more information on disciplinary literacy along with other recommendations, visit the WI DPI Website.

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Let's Switch Questioning Around

Teachers ask hundreds of questions a day and most of them leave openings for students to really think about the topic. Teacher questioning is a intricate part of quality teaching, but we must refine the types of questions we ask in order to promote critical thinking skills.

"Instead of spending time honing our questioning skills, it's time we help students hone theirs. Giving students opportunities to practice questioning will help them way beyond the classroom. People who wonder set a purpose for themselves. They know asking questions will propel them to continue reading and learning. Questions give learners a tool for picking out information that may be useful." ~Cris Tovani

Want to find out more? Read this article to learn how to get students to ask better questions and how to use their questions to inform your instruction. Tovani challenges teachers to allow students to ask more questions and evaluate the types of questions you ask your students.

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Moving Forward with the Units of Study

2016-2017 Expectations

Classrooms will continue to utilize the writer’s workshop structure

  • follow the mini-lesson format
  • mid-workshop teaching point and share
Continue to administer on-demand writing
  • before and after each unit
  • score using Units of Study rubrics
  • use information to drive instruction and form small groups
Teach each spiral in the units of study at least once

Develop and refine conferring

  • student checklist
  • goal setting

Contact Your Literacy Coaches

Have a question related to literacy?

Email your district literacy team:


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