COACHES WILL READ THIS WITH TEACHERS
Preparing materials for all learners: The reading programs being implemented in the Buffalo district provide teachers with lesson plans, a scope and sequence of skills and a variety of materials to help them successfully teach reading. Each school is staffed with a literacy coach (RFBC or RRT) to help teachers plan, prepare, and implement lessons effectively. The lessons and reinforcement activities planned for independent work time will be successful when followed with careful preparation. To ensure focused instructional delivery and purposeful, intentional independent work additional questions need to be answered:
Components in Harcourt Trophies support instruction for teacher-led whole group and small group instruction as well as independent work time. Teachers can meet the needs of all learners by evaluating components and choosing what is appropriate then preparing specific reading materials to help them get the job done. It is time-effective, builds collaboration, and gives the learning community an opportunity to impart creative focused reading instruction. It reduces a "one size fits all" approach and creates a shifting in thinking about instruction.
Thinking about instruction: Each individual in the Buffalo School District is held responsible for continually improving his/her work, whether in the classroom or as an administrator. Analyzing the data and collaborating to determine what instructional direction is needed is critical to helping students learn to read. The data tell teachers what is learned and what was taught. Planning and preparing are major components of good teaching practices, but assessment will determine effectiveness. Teachers need to think about the results of each skill tested and determine what skills students need and how to teach the skill until it is learned. Teachers are encouraged to think about teaching practices, current reading research, input from coaches, and the vision of the school/District leaders to find the best solutions to the challenges they face in their classrooms when students are working independently. Thinking about instruction will also increase communication and alignment which will serve to increase effectiveness across the entire system.
Reflection: To cultivate a learning community of professionals who have planned, prepared, and thought about the attributes of high-quality literacy instruction teachers must engage in reflection. Self-reflection can bring integrity to the work and lets a teacher know when there is equity in the classroom as well as focused explicity reading instruction for all students. Through daily reflection, teachers will determine if the plan worked and why, whether the prepared materials were appropriate for teacher-led or independent work time, and if the delivery of the lesson reached all learners not just some. The results will determine when it is time to celebrate learning.
The following table is an EXAMPLE of some of the components (materials) teachers can consider when planning and preparing support activities for independent work time. Students can use these materials independently at areas while the DI teacher is working with another group of students during the 90-minute DI block. Many of the Harcourt materials listed below are used daily in the Harcourt classroom but can also be successfully used for intervention and independent work time.
Pre-decodables and decodables (Take home version available.)
Books for All Learners (leveled books)
Little Book Collection (K)
Independent Readers Collection (K)
Additional leveled readers when appropriate
Self-selected reading materials
See Intervention Resource Kit
Listening Area Support
Audiotext for Big Book collection
Audiotext or literature cassettes that go with the Trophies selection
Oo-pples and Boo-noo-noos CD
Support for Skills using Reading Mastery, L4L, and Trophies
Reading Mastery I and II
Teacher Presentation Book (see the planning Pages with suggested activities for every 20 lessons.)
L4L (see the front of each Teacher Presentation Book for expanded language activities that teachers can make.)
Take Home Books (RM and Trophies)
Write on-wipe off boards and Phonemic Awareness Disks (Elkonin Boxes) (Trophies)
Intervention game boards (Tropies)
Tactile Letter Cards
High-frequency word cards (Trophies)
After exhausting all materials in the reading programs and analyzing the data, teachers are ready to formulate the answer to the question, "What other solutions will I create as a teacher using the resources I have?"
NOTE: Teachers who had bought audio tapes to go with enticing picture books over the years had to box them up and take them home. Only Harcourt materials could be used. Except when Reading Mastery is mandated. Originally developed for Special Education students, in Buffalo many students are forced into Reading Mastery. Here is how a teacher describes it:
Middle class kids in suburban schools get rich literature. Poor inner city kids get Reading Mastery. The Buffalo teachers says, "We can't even find time to read aloud good literature! Bush talks about soft bigotry???? This book and program for non-special ed children is HARD BIGOTRY!"
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