ARI Literacy Leadership

August 2021


The Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) is a statewide K-3 initiative committed to supporting the development of high-quality instruction that will prepare all students with the literacy skills needed to meet or exceed grade-level standards. The goal of the ARI is to significantly improve reading instruction and ultimately achieve 100% literacy among public school students.
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The Seashell

The Alabama Reading Initiative would like to welcome you back to this school year and give you the gift of a seashell. Why a seashell? Seashells have unique characteristics. A seashell can tell you a lot about your students.

Maybe your shell is fragile, delicate, and easily broken.
So are your students. Handle them kindly and with care.

Maybe your shell looks beautiful.
Each student in your class has a special beauty.
Discover it and help others to notice it and appreciate it...

Maybe you noticed that your shell has pieces chipped away or broken off.
Some students have had difficult experiences
that have chipped away their positive self-image and broken their spirit.
Help to rebuild their self-image and rekindle their enthusiasm...

The shell you have in your hand is unique.
It was carried to shore by the ocean just for you.
What will you do with it now that it is yours?
Each student in your class is unique, too.
Each one is in your hands now.
What will you do with your students now that they are yours?

ARI is committed to YOU. We will work alongside you as your thought partner. Collaboratively, we will support each and every "seashell" in your K-3 classrooms.

(An excerpt from the poem, "Seashell".)

Initial/Kickoff Meetings

Welcome back school leaders! We also would like to welcome any new district leaders, principals, and local reading specialists to the fold. The 2021-2022 school year will kickoff in a few days. Are you ready for an AMAZING year? Your ARI Regional TEAM is ready to support your literacy vision. Our first task is scheduling our initial/kickoff meetings to discuss pertinent information around our collaborative work. Your leadership specialist will contact you soon to schedule a meeting this month. These meetings will last approximately 45 minutes to one hour. During these meetings, we will discuss the following:

  • ARI Quarter 4 Implementation Monitoring, Structures Generate Behaviors

  • Alabama Literacy Act Requirements/Updates
  • District/School Literacy Priorities
  • Assessment Plans
  • ARI Support Structure
  • ARI Anchor Documents

The LEA contact is the targeted audience for this meeting, but you may invite other support team members to the meeting at your discretion. We look forward to working with your district and serving alongside you during the school year.

The ARI Regional Team support districts and schools by:

  • Providing professional learning opportunities
  • Collaborating with the district and school leaders to analyze, interpret, and implement the Alabama Literacy Act
  • Providing ongoing support in a regional, district, small group, or individual setting

Regional Team Roles and Responsibilities:

The Journey to Reading Success: Circles of Influence

August is here! Your "seashells" (students) are labeling their new school supplies, teachers are busy setting up fun and inviting learning environments for their students, and principals are making preparations to welcome parents and students back to school. Principals, as you make plans for the new school year, we would like to encourage you to share your Structures Generate Behaviors planning tool with your school team. This planning document was due on August 2, 2021 and will serve as a key instrument this year in ensuring that school leaders keep the main thing the main thing! The structures that you have strategically planned are closely aligned to the Circles of Influence. Together, your structures and Circles of Influence will help you stay focused on your pathway to literacy success. Having the right structures in place is at the center of any meaningful change at the school level. As you leap into action, continue to focus on the Circles of Influence. Which circle do you need to give more leadership attention to this month? Which circles do other stakeholders need support?

The Circles of Influence will continue to drive our work this year. Our work will consist of digging deeper into each circle of influence as we continue to use your data to inform our actions in each circle. This month, you will be administering your early literacy screener to all K-3 students. The data you collect from your screener, along with your summer data, will help your team make informed decisions. The assessment cycle is an ongoing process that should be repetitive throughout the year. Measuring student success is imperative to their overall achievement. The information/data you gather from each circle will help you identify your students' strengths and weaknesses. It will also provide you with the information you need to adjust instruction. The key is using the data in "real time" to respond to what the data is saying.

  • Assess/Progress Monitor

  • Collect and Analyze Data

  • Drill Down to Lowest Deficit

  • Determine Instruction

  • Coach to Support Student Learning

As you are collecting and analyzing the various forms of data, your role is to ensure that instruction, intervention, and coaching is data-driven.

Q4 Implementation Monitoring Link: If you have not submitted your school's planning tool, please use the link to complete and submit.

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Comprehensive LEA Early Literacy Report 2021

On May 26, 2021, a Comprehensive Memo was released ( with details regarding reporting data as required by the Alabama Literacy Act. In September of 2020, schools submitted the first comprehensive reporting information in the CAVEON portal. In an effort to respond to feedback from local education agencies (LEAs), an alternative method to submit this year’s comprehensive reporting requirement has been developed. The official reporting link is now accessible through the following link Fillable Docs (

For your convenience, a hard copy can be found below. Please read this document carefully.

  • Each school with Grades K-3 in your LEA must have a completed submission.
  • Data from the 2020-2021 school year and 2021 Summer Reading Camp is being reported.
  • All green cells must be completed.
  • Pink cells do not have to be filled- data is auto generated.
  • The gray cells are not required to be reported this year.
  • The LEA does not submit data at the district level unless otherwise determined by the system.
  • Collaboration between the LEA and the school-level administrators is always encouraged!
  • The final report will be due no later than Friday, September 17, 2021, to allow LEAs time to enter all that is required by the ALA.

Sample Comprehensive Data:


All Things AlaKiDS:


  • The AlaKiDS information is now housed on the Teaching Strategies website AlaKiDS - Teaching Strategies. Please go through the website to gain familiarity with it.
  • The website contains links to the summer offerings and AlaKiDS FAQs.


  • Any new kindergarten teachers who did not attend training this summer should attend training by the ARI Regional Literacy Specialists in August.
  • Training will be ONE 3-hour session.
  • These training sessions will be offered as early as possible so that teachers can begin AlaKiDS testing in ample time to meet the deadline for submitting. These data are due September 17, 2021.


  • New kindergarten teachers not attending training this summer will be given a kit from your in-service center or from your LEA.
  • Each school district will receive a specific number of kits. Your leadership specialist will communicate the shipment of the AlaKiDS kits to the LEA contacts.
  • Districts will be receiving more than enough new kits to use as new K teachers are hired and to provide replacement pieces for items missing from used kits. Suggestion: determine a storage area and maintain a sign-out list when kits are distributed.
  • New kits will not be sent for the next 3 years - the shipment received in July/August 2021 is for use for the next 3 years. In other words, districts will maintain the kits.

Literacy Task Force K-3 Comprehensive Core Reading Program Recommendations

Coaching Corner

August brings about a “Fresh” start! Review the Alabama Coaching Framework to identify the ingredients for Alabama’s standard for quality coaching practices to accomplish instructional improvement and student achievement goals this year.

Ingredients of Effective Coaching:

Local Reading Specialist Job Description

Local Reading Specialist Weekly Schedule

  • The Local Reading Specialists will upload a weekly schedule that can be accessed by the ARI state and regional staff, as needed. We will ask that they share their schedule with their ARI LEA (Local Education Agency) Contact, as well as their principal. Just as teachers are required to submit weekly lesson plans to guide instruction, Local Reading Specialists’ plans are their daily schedules that reflect the priority of coaching and mentoring teachers in classrooms daily.

The primary goal of coaching is to improve student learning. Therefore, local reading specialist must focus their work on strengthening the quality of teaching and learning. If any of the providers of coaching — the school, the district, or the coach — is unclear about the goal of the coaching, then coaches will struggle to keep a laser-like focus on doing what matters. ~Joellen Killion

What coaches do each day influences what teachers do and that, in turn, influences what students know and do!

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LRS Reminders



As students return to school this year, we need to know where they are in their reading development. Our first task is to provide each student with a diagnostic assessment. Once we have this baseline data, we can use this data to plan for tiered instruction. Remember that if students are not performing on grade level, we are tasked with using additional screening measures to identify deficiencies so that we can intervene in that area.

How to Prepare:

  • Identify your screening tool (chosen from a list provided by the literacy task force).
  • Ensure screening dates are set inside the testing window.
  • Plan for beginning of the year data meetings.

NEXT STEPS: Parent Notifications

Parents are to be notified of a “consistent reading deficiency” within 15 days of making that determination. Parents should receive a monthly notification of progress. Parents are to be provided strategies and resources to be used at home.

Sample Plan SRIP with MTSS/RTI Features (Reading, Math, & Behavior).docx - Google Docs

NEXT STEPS: Student Reading Improvement Plans (SRIP)

Based on the results of the reading assessment, each K-3 student who exhibits a reading deficiency, or the characteristics of dyslexia, shall be provided an appropriate reading intervention program to address his or her specific deficiencies. Any K-3 student who exhibits a reading deficiency at any time, shall receive an individual reading improvement plan no later than 30 days after the identification of the reading deficiency.

  • Created by the teacher, principal, other pertinent school personnel, and the parent or legal guardian
  • Describe the evidence-based reading intervention services, including dyslexia specific intervention services, that the student shall receive to improve the reading deficit.
  • Note that a SRIP plan may be embedded in another existing plan if it describes the required components.

This linked flow chart helps to provide understanding on when to develop a SRIP.


IDA Alabama Conference (Register Today)

Rise to the Challenge and Save the Date!

Register Today for the Fall Dyslexia Conference

When: October 15, 2021, 7:45 AM – 4:15 PM

Where: St. James United Methodist Church 9045 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, AL 36117

Join us for an exciting day of learning with national experts, Natalie Wexler and Linda Farrell.

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