On Thursday October 6, 2016, Gov. Snyder signed the Third Grade Reading Bill which is aimed at improving early literacy. This new legislation renews an energy and sense of urgency around literacy in Michigan.
The Reading Now Network (RNN), a collaborative partnership formed by ISD’s in West Michigan counties, has a mission to improve early literacy and student achievement.
One of the first steps to achieving that goal was a study in which reading scores were analyzed for all elementary schools in RNN, and those that were outperforming similar schools were identified. A handful of those “outlier” schools were then selected for a field study. The Field Study Team, made up of curriculum experts from the ISDs in West Michigan, visited each of the outlier schools.
Roots of Reading
The team found five elements these schools had in common, and compiled their findings for the Symposium they held March 11, 2015. They call these common elements the Roots of Reading Success. Click here to visit the RNN website where you can access a series of professional videos filmed in the schools and taped segments from the Symposium’s live panel discussions, along with a valuable reflection tool for self-study and additional resources.
West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium
On March 8, 2017, West Michigan’s area education service agencies are hosting the West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium, featuring Dr. Richard Allington! Participants will have the opportunity to review the RNN “Five Key Findings” and learn from classroom teachers and principals who have put those findings into action.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Allington, who grew up in West Michigan and will be returning to his alma mater, Western Michigan University on March 8th, 2017. He will share his research on summer reading loss and the importance of strong classroom libraries.
The symposium will also provide options for participants to explore the recently published Essentials documents created by the MAISA/GELN* Early Literacy Task Force. Melissa Usiak, Executive Director of Michigan ASCD* and Professor at Michigan State University, will be digging into the just-released School-wide Essentials as well.
Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to hear from representatives of Michigan Department of Education (MDE) as they unpack the Third Grade Reading Bill along with many, many more exciting options.
This blog post was written by Kelli Campbell, Director of Teaching and Learning for Kent ISD and edited by Amanda Walma, Professional Learning Coordinator at Kent ISD.
*Acronyms used above: Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, (MAISA) General Education Leadership Network (GELN), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)