Instructional Coach Weekly Update

Week of Dec. 14-18

Strategy Spotlight: Fluency practice during intervention time

Several times in the past couple of weeks I have heard both Jessica Q. and Susan O. say in conversations I am having with them about intervention that at "our level" (aka upper elementary) students should really be in as close to grade level text for their fluency practice each day during their intervention time as possible.


They know that most of the kits come with fluency passages and that some teachers have supplemented with printable books that focus on a certain word type, but both feel that at the upper elementary grades (especially 4th and 5th grade) that that is not best practice for meaningful fluency practice. What they suggest is finding leveled readers or even lower level chapter books that your group can adequately read and have that be their fluency practice each day.


Remember the ultimate goal of intervention is to help students become more fluent readers who can comprehend what they read and both Susan and Jessica stress that reading the Walpole passages (which are intended for lower elementary use) or short repetitive (often tongue-twister-like) printable books don't get students into meaningful text. The lowest Walpole group at each grade level may be okay using the Walpole passages, but beyond that we should challenge ourselves to be using leveled readers or chapter books at their level.


Reminders for fluency during intervention:


  • Always have students whisper read first (if using a leveled reader/chapter book say: "Today I want you to whisper read from page 16-19 over and over again until I say stop.")
  • Lean in and listen to each student whisper read. You can have them whisper read for longer than 1 minute if need be (1 min. was meant for the short passages that came with the kit).
  • After whisper reading students should partner read or choral read the same pages they just whisper read.


Please let me know if you need any help with structuring the fluency part of your intervention.

Last Week

  • Covered for teachers who observed other teachers
  • Monday morning literacy meeting with Susan O'dell
  • Grade level and special ed. team meetings
  • Meeting with a teacher to work on RCD/Unit planning
  • NTC webinar
  • GWAEA LCI training on with Steve Ventura
  • C4K Webinar
  • Full day of literacy/blended team planning with 4th grade team
  • TIER tutorials and assistance for several teachers

This Week

  • Completing some time on task checks for a student throughout the week
  • I will be videotaping 7 different teachers teach their intervention groups this week
  • Team planning meetings
  • Continue to help a couple teachers start the process of writing new IRAs
  • Plan a new small group reading unit with a teacher
  • Help a teacher begin to teach "note cards" (from Write Tools) in their class

Take Aways from Steve Ventura:

I attended the "Evaluating Your Leadership Impact" presented by Steve Ventura at GWAEA this past week. This was the first PD led by Mr. Ventura in what will be a series at GWAEA this year. This PD session was for principals and ICs but the upcoming PD days will involve a grade level representative from every grade K-12 (I believe!) He was a great speaker and several things really stood out for me:


1. Changing the Narrative - Instead of "What did you do today?" how about "What kind of feedback did your teachers give you today?"


  • We spent a lot of time talking about feedback - feedback can have a significant impact on student learning, but not all feedback is effective


2. Mind Frames - The fate of our students depends on the mind frames of our teachers.

3. Inspired and Passionate Teachers - To what extent do the teachers in our school match the profile of inspired and passionate teachers?

Thought for the day...

Assessing students and collecting data does not make our students any smarter if we don't use the data to improve how we teach our students.