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Archive for 2009

Literacy Coaching – a Challenge with Great Benefits

Monday, 16 November 2009 at 11:53 am

As Education Queensland launches a new coaching initiative for qualifying schools, some of our finest literacy educators embark on a significant, new journey as literacy coaches. The role presents exciting opportunities, as well as the many challenges associated with supporting educators and school communities towards a shared goal of improved literacy outcomes for all.

Benefits of literacy coaching

The benefits of coaching and mentoring models …

Costs and benefits of commercially produced literacy programs

Monday, 12 October 2009 at 12:05 pm

Many schools are planning for 2010 and I was recently asked for my thoughts about the purchase of a particular commercially produced program.

As far as educational research suggests, many commercially produced programs are not indicative of best teaching practice and are therefore not endorsed by education bodies or organisations.

This is not to suggest however, that programs of this type cannot be used by teachers as …

literacy coaching

Wednesday, 9 September 2009 at 9:45 am

Can six Little Secrets make a difference?

What makes for powerful reading instruction? Expert teachers of reading know why and how to plan for reading instruction that gets powerful outcomes for students.

They know what the Six Secrets are and very importantly, how to make them work in a classroom. So what are they? They are:

Explicit, data driven instruction
Differentiated, strategic problem solving with the right amount of …

Not the best solution for under-achieving students

Monday, 31 August 2009 at 10:37 pm

I’m interested in your thoughts about the proposed summer and winter school programs to “catch up” under-achieving students.

A few issues spring to mind . . .

Is placing a greater workload on under-achievers the solution?
How will these students cope without a full break? Won’t these same students be exhausted from back to back terms with shorter breaks?
Does this suggest that we cannot provide a rich, quality …

I’ve read it, but I don’t get it! Comprehension fundamentals

Friday, 14 August 2009 at 12:37 pm

Comprehension is built around a foundation of prior knowledge and will therefore differ for individuals. It is possible and likely for students within a single cohort to have different understandings of elements within the same text.

Factors contributing to a strong foundation of prior knowledge:

rich language environments, i.e. those in which there is a high volume of general and focused talk around a variety of topics; …

Top 10 practices of highly proficient teachers of reading

Wednesday, 5 August 2009 at 3:07 pm

How do we improve reading outcomes for students? What do highly proficient teachers of reading do? Here’s my Top Ten list . . .

Gather regular, ongoing records using both formal and informal measures on continuous text; analyse strategic behaviour on errors and self-corrections, make observations about elements of prosody and fluency and assess comprehension; determine skills and knowledge controlled and absent; identify patterns of behaviour
Analyse …

Literacy Strategy in practice

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 at 11:01 pm

I was recently in Canberra working with the Catholic Education Office Canberra-Goulburn to formulate a position statement and supporting document to align literacy practice across the diocese.

It’s enormously exciting to be involved in projects of this nature. Not only will this document address a framework outlining consistent literacy practice across all year levels, but it aims to:

clarify purpose and audience for all literacy learning
embed …

Motivating Readers

Wednesday, 15 July 2009 at 7:05 pm

I recently wrote on the importance of intrinsically motivated readers. There is much to be gained from providing texts around students’ interests. How can we do this? The obvious answer is to ask and they’ll tell us. This works for most students, but you may have observed that some students don’t appear to know what they’re interests are. We only need to watch as …

Signs of illiteracy in the strangest places

Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 7:40 pm

I had a pretty stressful experience on the week-end that kept reminded me of two important things. Here’s what happened …

It was Saturday morning. I had a very important appointment in the city. I parked the car in a multilevel basement car park and walked to the lift. On the way I passed a stairwell to street level, a quicker exit option, but noticed it …

Dedicated literacy educators are up for the challenge

Saturday, 20 June 2009 at 9:05 pm

I’ve just returned from a week away in central Queensland. Whilst away, I visited Blackwater, Rockhampton and Maryborough and had the wonderful opportunity to work with more than one hundred and fifty teachers and teachers’ aides across primary and high schools.

I am always excited to witness the dedication our educators bring to the role and wanted to share a few of many highlights for me.

Before …