Category Archives: Literacy

The Importance of Informational Text

What were you reading before you turned your eye onto this article?  Chances are it could be categorized into informational text reading. 

With the shift to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards also came a heightened focus on informational text reading, writing, and analysis. And, why shouldn’t it be.

Learning is a journey Continue reading The Importance of Informational Text

Improving Literacy: Essentials Documents In Action

Written by Lisa Brown, MDE

Improving literacy is part of Michigan’s strategic plan to become a top 10 in 10 State. While it will take a multi-faceted approach, beginning with quality tier one, instruction is key. The Early Literacy Task Force (ELTF), a subgroup of the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA), General Education Leadership Network (GELN) set out to collect the highest quality research around literacy instruction and compile it in a way that would be easily understood by educators.

Early Literacy Task Force: glen General Education Leadership Network a MAISA collaborative. MACUL, MASSE, MDE, MRA, MAME, MAISA ELA LT, MAC, MiBLSi, MSU, ECAN, MV, MEMSPA, ISDs/k-12, GVSU, MI ASCD, U of M

The Product: The K-3 Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy.

This document is not their only document designed to support improving literacy throughout the state. In fact, the ELTF has produced a continuum of supports including the Prek- K Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy, 4-5 Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy, School-Wide and Center-Based Practices in Literacy, Essential Coaching Practices in Elementary Literacy and 6-12 Practices in Literacy in progress.  Continue reading Improving Literacy: Essentials Documents In Action

Connecting MTSS and Third Grade Reading Law

Written by: Mark Raffler, Kent ISD

The Kent ISD Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) team has been working for the past six years to develop the understanding and capacity of local districts to balance the behavior and academic demands put forward by the State of Michigan.

The latest legislation put into place, focused on academic content, is the Third Grade Reading Law (Public Act 306).  This legislation comes with many requirements and considerations for districts in order to increase the number of students reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
Continue reading Connecting MTSS and Third Grade Reading Law

Focusing on Read Alouds: K-3 Literacy Essentials

Written by: Christi Gilbert, Literacy Coach/Kent ISD

Essential #2 states: “Read Alouds of age-appropriate books and other materials, print or digital”

Why read alouds?

There is a STRONG research consensus that supports literacy development through read alouds. Children learn about reading and writing from read alouds. They also increase their vocabulary hearing new words during a read aloud.

But, our reality:

Tanya Wright, a lead researcher with the Literacy Essentials, did a study on read alouds.  She visited four classrooms  and conducted over 55 visits. Throughout those visits she noticed two important things: Continue reading Focusing on Read Alouds: K-3 Literacy Essentials

Literacy- Making Every Minute Count

Written by Melissa Buurstra, Early Childhood Specialist

Do you ever wonder about the time at school children spend waiting for their turn to use the bathroom or another class to finish in the gym?

In Kent County’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) classrooms, we do wonder about this time. We have a name for it and we even plan for it on our weekly lesson plans. We call it “transition time”.

These 3-5 minute waits really add up. For instance, a GSRP classroom waiting in line 5 minutes every day amounts to 650 minutes or almost 11 hours which is close to 2 entire days of school.

“We take this time seriously and use transition time activities as an important part of our lesson planning,” says Ashley Karsten, Kent ISD GSRP Supervisor. Continue reading Literacy- Making Every Minute Count

Mapp and Morrell Promote Early Literacy by Engaging Parents

Why is it important for educators, parents and business leaders to be involved in promoting early childhood literacy?  Do community members have a collective responsibility to support the reading and writing development of the children living in their neighborhoods?  How can families and area residents partner with schools to strengthen and support literacy initiatives?

Learn the answers to these questions and more during the Reading Now Network’s West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium, “Collective Responsibility: Engaging Families & Community,” on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The event will take place at the Bernhard Center on the Campus of Western Michigan University. Continue reading Mapp and Morrell Promote Early Literacy by Engaging Parents

Top Educational Gift Ideas

It is the gift giving season! What gifts can you give a child to ignite learning? 

I have found with my children that the right toys inspire learning. So together, with other Kent ISD consultants and parents, I have populated a list of educational gifts that we have seen engage our children and students.

I have categorized the ideas, but many of these really could fit into more than one category. I encourage you to read through each list. Continue reading Top Educational Gift Ideas

Literacy Leadership Symposium is here in Grand Rapids!

Attention School Administrators: The Fall Literacy Leadership Symposium is here in Grand Rapids!

In March, Reading Now Network (RNN) hosted the West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium at Western Michigan University. More than 600 educators from 26 counties gathered to focus on literacy. Participants learned how to implement the RNN Five Key Findings and explored the Instructional and School-Wide Essential Practices. The urgency and excitement surrounding the RNN Five Key Findings has resulted in a fall Literacy Leadership Symposium aimed to energize and inspire building and district administrators. Continue reading Literacy Leadership Symposium is here in Grand Rapids!

Strategies to Encourage Summer Reading

Summer. The word alone conjures images of the pool, beach, sand, sun, relaxing with a good book…

Unfortunately, summer break often means a vacation from reading for many students.

Summer Reading Loss Research

The importance of summer reading is well documented in educational research. Studies confirm that summer reading loss perpetuates the achievement gap between low-socioeconomic communities and more advantaged communities. However, Jimmy Kim (2004) found Continue reading Strategies to Encourage Summer Reading

Tackling Text Structures: A Nontraditional Approach

Few could argue the importance of understanding text structure. When it comes to reading, having a grasp of structure will help a reader’s brain focus in on the important aspects of a text, helping to connect points and enhancing comprehension. For writing, being able to effectively choose and apply the appropriate text structure for the purpose of an individual piece is key for expressing a big idea or opinion.

While text structure is important, teaching text structure can sometimes be…well…dry as toast. Simply serving up pre-planned graphic organizers and lists of transitional words for individual structures, while important, may not capture students’ attention, at least not to the degree intended to have young readers and writers truly internalize text structures in order to make the best use of them in their reading and writing work. We need to find a way to have students experience text structures where they will actually be able to remember them and distinguish one structure from another. Continue reading Tackling Text Structures: A Nontraditional Approach