Reading Specialist


What is an Effective Literacy Program?

  • Centers
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Gradual Release of Responsibility (modelled, shared, guided, independent)
  • Fair, transparent, equitable assessment practices (for, as, of learning)
  • Effective feedback (self, peer, teacher, parent/s)
  • Reading Strategies
  • Accountable Talk
  • Critical Literacy
  • Differentiation
  • Engagement
  • Inquiry
  • Levelled Text
  • Guided Reading
  • Comprehensive, cross-curricular integration
  • Co-Create Success Criteria and revise while working through the task
  • Four Roles of a Literate Learner

Dot Mocracy Activity: Use at the beginning of a unit, use for tests, understanding of concepts (if a red dot is placed, teach further), good for problem solving, especially for younger children)

Apply The Four Roles of the Literate Learner to All Teaching and Learning

Meaning Maker

Code User

Text User

Text Analyzer

Good video modules of the four roles being applied (e.g., Making Words) and there were activities for code user, meaning maker.

***When planning a program, look at where these four roles are evident when teaching students.

Excellent monograph: Comprehensive Literacy Moving Forward

Literacy is defined as...

"The ability to use language and images in rich and varied forms to read, write, listen, speak, view, represent, and think critically about ideas. It enables us to share information, to interact with others, and to make meaning. Literacy is a complex process that involves building on prior knowledge, culture and experiences in order to develop new knowledge and deeper understanding. It connects individuals and communities, and is an essential tool for personal growth and active participation in a democratic society." Ontario Ministry of Education. (2004). Page 5

Assessment Drives Instruction

- Use triangulation of evidence: observations, conversations, products

- Use the instructional approach of the gradual release model

- Four roles addresses many of the literacy expectations in the curriculum

- Link language across the curriculum (Language, Math, Science & Technology, Social Studies, Art, Health & Physical Education

- Integrated inquiry units

- Gradual release of responsibility

- Responsive practice based on descriptive evidence of learning that guides the teacher in differentiating instruction

A Framework for Effective Reading Instruction

Goals of Reading Instruction:

- Fluency, Comprehension, Motivation

Instructional Approaches to Teaching Reading

- Phonics & Word Work

- Read-aloud

- Shared reading

- Guided reading

- Guided comprehension

- Independent reading

Assessment, Evaluation, Reporting, Target Setting, and Planning for Improvement

must be done at:

- Classroom level

- School level

- Board level

- Provincial level


Inquiry requires more than answers to questions or getting a right answer. It includes investigation, exploration, search, quest, research, pursuit and study. It is enhanced by being a part of a community of learners, each learning from the other through social interaction. Capacity Building Series "Getting Started with Student Inquiry"

Framework: Four Phases of Inquiry

1. Focus: Initial Engagement (select focus/question/topic)

2. Share Learning: communicate, dialogue, go further, reflection

3. Explore: Find out more, investigate

4. Analyze: Summarize/synthesize/draw conclusions/construct new learning

When getting started with inquiry...consider the curriculum and connect the "big ideas" to student questions, design learning opportunities for students to explore authentic "real life" experiences based on curriculum expectations. Have students learn more about their topic by asking:

- What do we want to understand more deeply?

- What big questions will we explore

- What is important to know about this?

Think about what students show you and what to do next. Talk to students and have them reflect about :

- What are we learning about this topic?

- What are we learning about ourselves?

- What do we think and know now?

What does this mean for us as learners?

***Teach and Use Inquiry Talk Moves

- Make talk moves cards on a ring so students can practice these talk moves

Talk Moves:

- Declarative statements

- Building on

- Paraphrasing/clarifying/synthesizing

- Making connections

- Asking questions

- Proposing theories

In Sum:

- Inquiry gives students an opportunity to make decisions about their learning and take responsibility for it.

- Inquiry is about asking questions to expand understanding.

- Inquiry builds on children's natural curiosity and leads to the development of higher-order thinking skills.

Reader's Theatre Presentation

A great way for teachers and students to practice and apply the Four Roles of a Literate Learner, use assessment from PMB/DRA to drive instruction and focus on whole class and individual learning goals.

Engaging! Can make it simple or add as desired. Give students choice and differentiate instruction!

Digital Fluency

Sylvia Rosenthal - good to tweet and follow her

- Premier Tools

- SAMR model (You Tube)

- Device neutral Apps (web 2.0 tools - students can use phones)

- Ed Camp - participants lead the learning

- QR code (quick response)


- QR voice

- Skype

- World Read-aloud day

Tony Vincent

- creative apps (book creator, Animoto video maker)

- skitch for word walls, picolage, tellagami

- utility Apps (Nearpod for assessments, Remind 101 - send group texts and emails)

- Canva: website good for creating poster or info graphics

- Snapguide: good for procedural writing, take pictures/put in slides then others around the world comment on them

- Jog the Web: sites good for kids to look at when researching - can add guiding questions as well

- Kahoot works on any device

- Screencastomatic - for quick tutorials record voice

- Adobe Voice: create slideshows with graphics

- edcamp, Animoto

- Haiku Deck Apple App (High visuals), good media piece, put text/pictures, 6 words about school, upload a picture

- fotor good for collages

- Vine (phone app) 6 sec. like tweeting

Big image

Favourite Literature/Web Share

- Madly learning - online stories for students

- Tumble books, Raz Kids

- Teaching Kids - News adapted for children grades 2-8 Good for reading

- Media Smarts - Canada's Centre for Digital and Media Literacy

Literature Share

- Leave Me Alone by Lee Wildish ( What happens when you stand up to a bully) Social Justice

Professional Literature Share

- How to Give Effective Feedback by Susan Brookhart

- Scholars Choice, Making Words by Patricia Cunningham grades 1-3 or 4-6

Making Words


- write letters on lego, eggs, cars

- making words, find the small words in the bigger word. Can apply to other writing

- Manipulate specific words - then give clue of a word others must guess

- Use as words of the week

- Give sticky notes for new vocabulary while reading

Literacy Presenters

Nikki shared great information about comprehensive literacy programs and resources such as Making Thinking Visible, LLI kits by Fountas and Pinnel

Centers Ideas

- Link four roles of a literate learner

- Fountas and Pinnell Guiding Reader's and Writers Chpt. 9

- First 20 Days

- Resource "Where's the Glitch" to id juniors

- Assess, establish flexible groupings

- Intervention: 30 min. with each student every day

- Integrate Social Studies/Science into Guided Reading

- Literature centers have partners tell what they did well and what they need to work on

- Centers reinforce what has already been taught - give choice

- open ended activities

- establish routine during the first 6 weeks

- change centers once per month

Set Up of Centers

1. engaging - book box - centers are a privilage

2. manage, observe

3. Use sticky notes - flexible groupings

4. mini lessons for whole class and learning goal identified - use speech bubbles

5. Key centers: Library, Writing, Word Work - Choices


- choice

- engage

- use a timer 10 min.

- 4-5 per group

- visit 3 centers per day perhaps

More Ideas

- laminated word searches

- Bingo using dry erase crayola markers

- Dolch words study independently at home

- Unscramble words

- Hangman (reinforce vowels)

- Video Managing the Day - Peel Library

- Set up a Work Board - Visual

*** See my notes for this

- At the end, students share what they did at the centers