Latest Content
Creating Data Teams

Literacy leaders are spending more and more time organizing, compiling, and storing assessment data, often leaving little time to analyze the findings with teachers.  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan explain the value of enlisting tech support to assist with the data load.

Making the Case for Literacy Coaches

If your district is considering cuts to its literacy coaching program, you’ll appreciate Shari Frost’s advice.

My Colleague Refuses to Collaborate with Us (LITERACY COACH CONFIDENTIAL)

What do you do about a colleague who refuses to collaborate with other teachers on her grade-level team?  Literacy Coach Confidential takes on the problem, with suggestions from seven Choice Literacy contributors.

Implementing RTI: Keeping Students at the Heart of Our Conversations

Jennifer Allen provides some prompts for staff discussions about Response to Intervention to  help you connect long-term goals and beliefs with short-term strategies.

Creating a Culture of Literacy

How do we create schools and communities where everyone is passionate about reading and writing? Shari Frost has practical advice for teachers and school leaders.

How to Use a Coach: Four Things to Consider

Teachers, are you getting the most out of your relationships with the literacy coaches and other mentors in your midst?  Heather Rader has some thoughtful back-to-school advice for building more powerful teacher-coach relationships

How to Be of Use: Starting Strong

"Peppers make cats cry."  If you want to understand the wise advice for literacy coaches within this mnemonic device, you'll have to read this article. 

The DIBELS Divide (LITERACY COACH CONFIDENTIAL)

A curriculum coordinator loves DIBELS; a first-grade teacher doesn't.  We provide a range of suggestions from our contributors on dealing with disagreements over assessment.  This article is useful for teachers and literacy leaders who are working together with assessment data early in the year, no matter what evaluative system your school or district has in place.

Triangulating: The Importance of Multiple Data Points When Assessing Students

No data point for any child stands alone.  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan write about the importance of triangulating data when looking at student assessments, and in the process affirm the value of classroom observations.

What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About . . .?

Ruth Shagoury and Melanie Quinn asked their colleagues to share the “most beautiful thing” about the puzzling student each of them is looking at closely in their study group. This is a great activity you’re looking for a quick and easy icebreaker to spark some positive energy in your next study group or staff meeting, and remind everyone of the joys of our profession.

A Reason to Learn

Jennifer Allen reflects on why and how literacy leaders need to make their professional development offerings more relevant and rigorous for teachers.

If Boot Camp Was Standards-Based

Franki Sibberson's article this winter linking her learning from fitness boot camp to working with struggling readers was one of our most popular features ever. Here she provides a follow-up to share new lessons from bootcamp in a standards-based world.

From “Data Drowning” to “Data Wise”: What Are We Doing Now?

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan  provide an activity for staff meetings designed to help schools sort through the purpose and value of current assessments.

Inspiration from Author Visits: Tips and Web Resources

Jennifer Jones reflects on the power of a local author visit in her school, and also provides some quick tips and weblinks for planning a visit.

Better Discussions in Study Groups

Cindy Hatt has suggestions for getting the most out of book studies with colleagues, with activities and prompts that can help you move from ideas to practice in classrooms.

Tips for Saving Time from Literacy Leaders

Time-saving tips from contributors including Aimee Buckner, Debbie Miller, Ruth Shagoury, Shari Frost, Karen Szymusiak and "The Sisters" (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser).

Moving from Data to Practice

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan give advice for how to create databases and graphic analyses of assessment information that teachers can readily access and use.

Music for Literacy Leaders

Reflective? Rollicking? If you’re trying to set a tone for anything from an assessment team meeting to a one-minute transition in a second-grade classroom, our Music for Literacy Leaders playlist has just the right song for you.

Aligning Curriculum with Struggling Readers in Mind

This is a terrific article for a team considering struggling learners to read together and discuss.  Franki Sibberson asks some critical questions, including how many transitions and different adults some children work with each day in the name of getting all the support they need.

Back to the Classroom

Shari Frost reflects on what went wrong (or right) when a literacy coach decides to return to the classroom, and in doing so considers the kind of support literacy coaches need to thrive.

From Congeniality to Collegiality: Protocols for Meetings and Observations

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan suggest a few tested and successful protocols for meetings and study groups that foster more thoughtful conversations.

Hallmarks of Reading Workshop

Karen Szymusiak works with her staff to develop "Hallmarks of Reading Workshop," which is a succinct and concrete list of expectations for time, components, and organization of workshops. The list would be an excellent jumping off point for discussion in a staff meeting of bottom-line standards and allocation of time for literacy activities.

“I Used to . . . Now I”

Looking for a thoughtful and feel-good icebreaker for a staff meeting or study group? Ruth Shagoury uses the “I Used to…Now I” prompt to get colleagues thinking and talking about changes in their literacy instruction over the years, as well as where they might go next in their teaching.

Opening Classroom Doors

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share many nonthreatening techniques to break down resistance among teachers to classroom visits and collaboration.

What Reading is Like: Sports Analogies to Use with Parents

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan provide some sports analogies to share with families when talking about reading growth. The article includes a handout of prompts parents can use to spark discussions about books with their children.

Building a Professional Library from Scratch

There are so many new professional books available for literacy leaders to purchase…and so little funding to buy them. Shari Frost gives the details of how one coach surveyed colleagues, assessed needs, and rooted out bargains before spending the precious $500 allocated for stocking the professional book library.

Eight Tips for Building Relationships: A Tale of Two Literacy Coaches

Shari Frost presents a tale of two literacy coaches – one who has had success building close relationships with colleagues, and one who has struggled. In analyzing their experiences, she presents eight practical strategies for building relationships over time.

The Bed and Breakfast Model: An Analogy for Schools

Have you ever struggled as a literacy leader to explain the balance between creativity and common standards in teaching; between shared expectations and individuality?  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan present an analogy that might help.

Literacy Coach Confidential: My Colleague Talks Too Much!

Yakity yak won't bring 'em back to study groups when someone talks far too much. Here is advice from Choice Literacy contributors on how to deal with those "overtalkers" with tact and grace.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: Recommending Yourself

Suzy Kaback asks her students to write letters of recommendations for themselves, and finds the activity ripples across the school mentoring community. This exercise is a terrific catalyst for creating personal improvement plans.

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