The main source of literacy in the community is local libraries. Loans of books, magazines, movies, various types of learning kits. Interlibrary loan with libraries in Wyoming and the surrounding counties. Local libraries and the services they offer are an integral part of the community. They allow people of all ages free access to all aspects of literacy. Additional programs to support literacy that the library offers: ◦ Summer Reading Programs *Local libraries are headed by the ◦ Book Talks ◦ Story Hour Pioneer Library System. For more ◦ Project Read in conjunction with local schools information and details visit the main website: www.owwl.org *From this website you can order and download books, as well as visit each member library’s specific site.
Silver Springs Library Pike LibraryCordelia A. Greene (Castile) Library
Key Establishments ◦ Fire Departments, Post Offices, Libraries, Highway Department Local Business Signs ◦ Family-owned Restaurants, Stores, Hair Salons Traffic Signs ◦ Deer Crossing, Stop Signs, Snowmobile Signs, Yield Signs, Route Signs
The main source of literacy at Lockwood Elementary School, outside of the classroom, is the library. The library offers a wide range of reading materials, from books ranging in genres, themes, and reading levels, to newspapers, and magazine. They also provide additional literacy events for the school.
Pageturners Program ◦ This is an afterschool reading program where teams of students are assigned various books to read. Every couple of months the students compete against other local school’s Pageturner teams in regards to the books they have read. Project Read ◦ This is a program that provides a home-to-school connection. More details will be provided on this later. The complete literacy program, Journeys by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is used throughout the elementary school. Buddy Reading ◦ This is a afterschool program for students. In this program a strong reader and a weaker reader, sometimes from the same grade and sometimes from different grades, are paired together. They get the chance to read texts selected by both students. By pairing a more advanced reader with a weaker reader, allows the weaker reader to access texts that are above their independent level and also allows them to learn from the more advanced reader Author Visits ◦ A few times per school year, the librarian arranges for authors to visit the elementary school. This allows students to hear about what the author does, their stories, and allows for them to ask questions too. Library as a special ◦ Classes have library once every four days. During their library time the librarian teaches them about how to find books in the library (how the library is organized), helps them find books of interest, and reads to them. Also, students can check books out during their library time. They are able to take these books home with them to enjoy or read them when time allows in the classroom. Classroom libraries ◦ Each and every classroom in the school has their own collection of books. Some of these books are ones that the teachers have supplied personally, others have been donated, and still others have been purchased by the school. Scholastic Book Fairs ◦ The library hosts two book fairs every year. One in the fall and one in the spring. During this time, in partnership with Scholastic, books of all genres, themes, and topics are brought in and made available for the students to purchase.
Literacy is also present throughout the school in the form of posters and signs. These are forms of literacy, but they also represent and show the school’s values and expectations as well. Some of the signs remind students how to act everywhere in the school, from the bathroom, to the classroom, to the hallway, to the playground. Other signs simply display words that describe characteristics that the school values and that the principal and teachers hope to see the students displaying.
Examples of the posters that are signs of literacy, but also display the values of the school, school rules, and character traits that students are expected to display.
Posters throughout the room display the classroom rules and expectations for students. These rules and expectations are to be upheld throughout the entire day, not just during literacy.
Literacy Workshop Mrs. I is lucky enough to have 2 hours and 40 9:00 – 9:15 Reading Fluency minutes of literacy instructional time with 9:15-9:35 Daily 5/Reading Group no interruptions (with the exception of a few9:35-10:00 Reading Comprehension pull-outs, all of which are by the reading10:00 – 10:20 Daily 5/Reading Group teacher). This allows her to give more 10:20 – 10:30 Phonics focused instruction and allows her to10:30 – 10:50 Daily 5/ Reading Group accomplish more than she would if her 10:50 – 11:00 Grammar literacy block were broken up into smaller 11:00 – 11:40 Writing time segments.
All of the classes in the elementary school currently use Journeys by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for their literacy programs. Some classrooms, such as Mrs. I’s, incorporate other instructional methods as well. Journeys is a complete literacy instructional program. It lays out and provides the materials for every lesson the teacher will teach in the literacy (reading and writing) program. The following are the key components of every lesson that Journeys provides: ◦ Reading Literature and Informational Text (Provides anchor texts, decodable reading, and skills/strategies that should be taught for comprehension) ◦ Foundational Skills (Provides skills for phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, and high frequency words) ◦ Speaking and Listening (Provides read aloud text and speaking/listening skill) ◦ Language (Provides specific vocabulary words to focus on, vocabulary strategy, spelling principles, spelling words, and grammar skills) ◦ Writing (Provides writing mode, writing form, focus trait, and writing about reading) ◦ ***In this case a lesson really refers to a whole unit of study, which usually last around a week. Additionally, it provides teacher and student edition anthologies, leveled/decodable readers, and student practice books. ◦ Anthologies have a wide range of stories from various genres in them, as well as the comprehension questions and skills that correlate with each story. ◦ One set of practice books allows students to learn and practice the foundational skills and some aspects of language (grammar, phonics, fluency, etc.). ◦ The second set of practice books contains worksheets related to the reading literature and Informational Text portions of the program. (Story Mapping, Compare and Contrast, Author’s Purpose ***The following is a link to the Grade 2 Journeys unit and lesson plan layout. It lists the specific sequence, skills/strategies, and materials that are included in each lesson. This plan is exactly what the 2nd grade teachers at this elementary school follow. CHECK IT OUT: http://www.hmheducation.com/assets/pdf/journeys/Journeys_Scope- Sequence_2014_grade2.pdf
Focus Wall- Every lesson comes with a poster like this one. It has all the specific keyJourneys Student Anthology components for that lesson listed on it. For example, it lists the books that are the focus of the lesson, spelling words, target phonics skill, the vocabulary strategy, and more. Houghton Mifflin Leveled Readers for Guided Reading Groups Journeys Practice Book
I-PICK Book Boxes (books are a good fit for each individual student)1 of 3 bookcases in theclassroom. These containa variety of books that arenot organized by levels forthe students. Word Work Center Activities Work on Writing Folders and Notebooks
What Happens? Reading Fluency occurs every day at the beginning of the literacy block for a period of 15 minutes. The materials and plans for Reading Fluency are all from the Journeys program and match up with the themes/topics that are being covered in the entire literacy lesson. Reading Fluency usually takes shape in the form of a short read aloud with the students. Mrs. I. reads the story and throughout the story she has students picture the story in their mind, she asks questions to monitor comprehension, and prompts them to make connections to other texts and their background knowledge. Additionally, Mrs. I. shares her own thoughts, strategies, and processes for reading, so the students can leave the read aloud with a heightened awareness of what good readers do. Importance of Reading Fluency Reading Fluency is important because it allows the students to hear an appropriate and correct model of reading. The teacher can model and explain the reading process to students. It is important that the students become fluent, through this and other activities because fluency allows students to read more quickly and accurately, and increases comprehension
What Happens? This portion of the literacy block is 25 minutes long and occurs when students come back together as a whole class after their first round of Daily 5. The activities and instruction that occur during this time can vary slightly depending on what day of the lesson the class is on. At the beginning of every comprehension lesson the Focus Wall is fully reviewed. This just provides students with an overview and reminder of all the texts, skills, and strategies that they are learning and should be thinking about in this lesson. If it is the first day of a lesson a new book will be introduced to the students. The students will first complete a picture walk. Then the class will have a discussion where they talk about the pictures and make predictions and connections. Then the students will listen and follow along as the book is read on the Smartboard. Throughout the book, there are prompts and questions (in the teacher’s manual) that the teacher asks throughout the reading. Other than the first day of a lesson when a new book is introduced the structure of reading comprehension instruction is pretty similar. It starts with the class listening to the story again. Then the students are introduced to or review a comprehension strategy (Example: story map or story structure). Mrs. I always discusses and models the use of the strategy. The class then moves on to guided practice and then onto independent practice when they all seem to have an understanding of it. Importance of Reading Comprehension Instruction Provides the students with a model of what a reader with good comprehension does. Provides the students with strategies that will be useful when reading to help them monitor and improve their comprehension.
What Happens? Phonics instruction occurs in a whole group 10 minute mini-lesson after the second round of Daily 5. The specific piece or skill of phonics is determined by the Journeys program. There is a different phonics skill that accompanies each lesson/theme in the program. The actual activities that the students do are found in the Journeys practice books. If the class is learning something new about phonics, Mrs. I. will introduce, explain, show examples, and model the new skill. If the students are already aware of the skill she will review with them what they already know. Next, guided practice occurs and once the teacher feels that students are understanding the skill she gives them the opportunity for independent practice. In addition to the phonics instruction the students receive in whole group instruction, the students can also work on phonics during the “Word Work” center in Daily 5. Importance of Phonics Instruction Knowledge of phonics gives students another strategy to use when they are reading. It assists them in decoding words, which in turn can help them better understand the text. It can improve spelling because it teaches students various rules and patterns that students can look towards when spelling words.
What Happens? The grammar lesson is a brief 10 minute, whole group lesson that occurs after the final round of Daily 5. The specific grammatical skill that the class works on is again determined by the lesson in the Journeys program that the class is on and the assignments that students complete on the skill are usually from their practice books. If the class is learning a new skill Mrs. I. will introduce, explain, show examples, and model the new skill. If the students are already aware of the skill she will simply review with them what they already know. Next, guided practice occurs and once the teacher feels that students are understanding the new skill she gives them the opportunity for independent practice. Importance of Grammar Instruction It can help improve student’s writing. Being aware of certain aspects of grammar can improve student’s reading, such as being aware of punctuation. Helps improve oral language abilities.
What Happens? Reading groups take place at the “Teacher Table.” The teacher meets with one reading group during each round of Daily 5. Therefore, reading groups are about 20 minutes in length. The class is divided into 4 leveled reading groups. The books and other materials used all come from the Journeys by Houghton Mifflin collection. Book topics/themes are related to the full class topic/theme for particular week. Skill/strategy worksheets are also related to the skill/strategy that the entire class is working on. First, the teacher and students go over the lesson’s vocabulary words. They go over definitions, use them in sentences, and give examples when appropriate. (These vocabulary words are the same ones that students learn from the Focus Wall, the Read Aloud, and Shared/Group Reading Next, the group reads and discusses the book. ◦ Format of reading varies depending on the group ◦ Higher groups usually partner read, while lower groups usually read with the teacher. After reading students complete a worksheet, independently or teacher-guided, on a specific skill. ◦ Example: Sequencing with Beginning, Middle, and End ◦ All groups work on the same skill/strategy, but the worksheets are structured differently depending on the level of the group. Importance of Guided Reading ◦ It helps students reinforce reading strategies as they read each story. ◦ Mrs. I. is able to provide students with support as they develop reading strategies, practice monitoring and self-correction, and comprehend the story. ◦ Allows for more direct, personal instruction than whole group instruction.
Listen to Reading ◦ Listen to Reading is done on the computer in this classroom. At the beginning of the year the students were given specific websites and computer programs which have books on them that are read aloud. Some examples include a secure YouTube site that features celebrities reading children’s books and tumblebooks.com. Read to Someone ◦ During this time the students will read with a partner. The students can either read from one book or they can each select their own books if they have different interests or levels. When working at the Read to Someone center the students are expected to take turns when reading. One student should not be doing all the reading. Additionally, partners are expected to find one spot in the room, that is free from distractions, and they are expected to read for the duration of the center. Read to Self ◦ During this time the students select a book(s) to read independently. The books that they select are good fit books in the sense that they are at the right level and of interest to them. When students are participating in Read to Self they are expected to read for the entire length of the center and find their own space in the room to read, one where they will not be distracted by or distracting to others.
Teacher Table ◦ The teacher table is where the teacher meets with each guided reading group. Mrs. I. considers this another Daily 5 center/activity. Further details about the activities that occur at the Teacher Table can be found on the slide entitled Guided Reading Groups. Word Work ◦ During Word Work students are working independently, with partners, or with a group of three students. Grouping depends upon which Word Work activity the students are choosing to complete. Word Work always takes place at the round table in the back of the room. Word Work consists of various activities and games. These activities and games are often related to the student’s spelling words or to the focus of Journeys’ phonics and grammar skills/strategies for a particular lesson. Work on Writing ◦ During Work on Writing students are working independently. Work on Writing always takes place at the student’s desks. Students have a folder that has writing prompts in it to use as guidance and Work on Writing notebooks where they complete their writing pieces. Some of the topics that students write about are as follows: Write about what you did this weekend, Describe one of your favorite things to do, or various other topics that are related to the book topics that the class is currently reading. Every so often Mrs. I. will look at the work on writing pieces and either conference with the students about their writing or mark places where editing and revising may need to be done. The writing that is done in this center is much more informal than the writing that is completed later on during the literacy lesson.
The Daily 5 Anchor Charts provide clear and explicit directions andexpectations for the students during Daily 5 centers. These directionsand expectations are especially important because while the majorityof students are at Daily 5 centers, Mrs. I. pulls 3-5 students for guidedreading groups. Therefore, to avoid constant interruptions thestudents need to know what they are supposed to be doing at alltimes. If there is ever any question the students can simply refer totheir anchor charts to point them in the right direction.
At the beginning of each week everystudent in the class receives theirWeekly Daily 5 Sheet. This sheet hasthe 6 (one added center is the TeacherTable) center choices on it. Every daythe students mark which centers theygo to and which round of Daily 5 theywent to each center during. Forexample, on Monday if a student wentto the Teacher Table first, Word Worksecond, and Read to Self last, therewould be a 1 in the Teacher TableBox, a 2 in the Word Work Box, and a3 in the Read to Self Box. This systemhelps Mrs. I. to keep track of wherethe students have been on a daily andweekly basis. She refers to thesesheets every day and ensures thatstudents are attending each center asequally as is possible.
RTI Model AIMSweb ◦ Used to assess all areas of literacy ◦ 3 benchmarks/year Additional progress monitoring assessments are available ◦ Curriculum-Based Measurement Standardized, Brief, Easy to Administer ◦ Directly tied to Response to **For more information on AIMSweb Intervention (RTI) visit the following sites: ◦ Scores entered into and http://aimsweb.com/demo (Demonstration and explanation analyzed with a web-based of AIMSweb program) data program http://aimsweb.com/ (Main AIMSweb website)
In addition to providing instructional plans and materials for the literacy program Houghton Mifflin Harcourt also provides various assessment tools that coincide with the Journeys literacy program. The assessments included in this, that Mrs. I. uses in her classroom, are unit tests and progress monitoring assessments. (The school as a whole uses some of the diagnostic assessments, but they are usually completed by the reading teacher). The unit tests are completed at the end of each lesson. They are based off of the texts, skills, and strategies that the students were taught in the lesson. They are designed to measure the following things: ◦ Comprehension skills and strategies ◦ Word skills ◦ Spelling ◦ Grammar ◦ Writing
EARLY SUCCESS ◦ Systematic and scaffolded reading intervention program. ◦ Supports the 5 pillars of reading. ◦ Typically used in the classroom with struggling readers. ◦ Lockwood Elementary uses it as an at-home supplement for struggling readers. ◦ Teachers can send home specific books and other included materials that address the particular needs of a student who is struggling.
Project Read ◦ Reading program used throughout Wyoming County. ◦ Connects families and schools. ◦ Encourages students to read outside of school. ◦ Students can earn free books each month for reading or being read to for 15 minutes per day, at least 20 days of the month. ◦ Provided with a calendar to keep track of times, days, and books.
Occurs during a 40 minute time period after the reading block. This writing is more formal than the writing that is done during the Daily 5 center. Everything that the students do during this writing period is determined by the Journeys program and connected to the type of text they are reading and the focus skills associated with that lesson. The program determines what the teacher will teach and gives a focus in writing for the following areas: ◦ Writing Mode (Narrative, Informative) ◦ Writing Form (Informational, Summary) ◦ Focus Trait (Organization, Voice) ◦ Write About Reading (Performance Task) ◦ Research Literacy Skill (Research Questions, Understand Sources) The format of instruction during writing depends on what phase of the writing process the students are in. ◦ If the writing piece is just being introduced than writing instruction will be whole group. To introduce the topic and skills the students will be working on the teacher uses a scaffolded approach. First, they tell the students about the writing, they model it for them, they release some responsibility to the students with guided practice, and once it seems that everyone grasps the task and skills then they are released for independent practice. When the students are working independently the teacher monitors their progress and also has the ability to pull students to provide direct instruction if they are struggling with something in regards to the writing task. When their writing is complete Mrs. I. assesses using a four point rubric that she and the other 2nd grade teachers created.
Structure of Writing: To help students withthe writing process as a whole (i.e.knowing about the structure of writing)the second grade teachers teach theirstudents the model that is pictured to theright. This model helps the students tobetter understand the writing process, aswell as keep them more focused on whatthey actually need to include.
In my opinion, the combination of the texts from the Journeys program and the texts that the students are allowed to select themselves makes for a good balance in the reading program. The self-selected texts introduce authentic texts, while the texts from the Journeys program ensure that students are at least being exposed to the ideas, skills, and strategies that are enveloped in the curriculum. With just one aspect or the other I do not think the students would be getting the exposure and opportunities that are needed in order to become successful readers. Self-Selected Texts: ◦ Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading Texts ◦ Students use the I-PICK system to select books that are appropriate for their reading level. ◦ Allows students the chance to pick books or other reading materials that are of interest to them, instead of always being told what to read. ◦ I believe students are more invested in the reading process when they have the opportunity to pick their own books. Texts provided directly by the Journeys program: ◦ Leveled/Guided Reading Texts, Read-Aloud Texts, Shared Reading Texts ◦ Exposes students to a wide variety of texts, that range in style, genre, topics, and themes. ◦ Ensures that students are at least given the literacy materials and knowledge that are outlined in the curriculum and will help them achieve the standards. ◦ A lot of repetition of themes and topics, which hopefully helps students with comprehension and retention, but could lead to boredom and disengagement.
Individual Instruction: ◦ Occurs only at times when the teacher sees a need. Therefore, it is sporadic and not planned into the daily literacy routine. Whole Group: ◦ There is 1 hour total of whole group instruction during reading (this hour is broken down into smaller time segments as shown in the daily schedule). Small Group: ◦ The teacher meets with small groups during guided reading for a total of 60 minutes per day. The students themselves work in small groups for around 20 minutes a day, at least 4 days a week. There are some days when a group will not meet with the teacher because of time constraints. Independent/Partner Work: ◦ There is 60 total minutes where students could be working independently or with a partner. Just as the time spent in small group can vary this time can vary as well. Writing: ◦ There is a total of 40 minutes devoted to writing in this classroom(in addition to “Work on Writing” in Daily 5). Whereas the instructional time and activities for reading in this class are firm, the 40 minutes that is spent on writing is much more flexible. Whether is whole group or independent depends on what is being taught and what stage of the writing process the students are on each particular day.
Due to the fact that this school uses the Journeys literacy program there is not an excess amount of time or flexibility in the literacy program. Even though there are time constraints and specific guidelines for how this time is spent(actual activities and grouping methods) I feel as though Mrs. I. has done a good job of adjusting and adding supplements to the program. The biggest supplement she has added is the Daily 5 program and guided reading groups (Houghton Mifflin has materials for guided reading groups that fit with the Journeys program, but they are not always used in conjunction). The Daily 5 and guided reading groups not only allow students more exposure to literacy, more opportunities for practice, and more individualized instruction, they also create more diversity in the way instructional time is spent. With the Journeys program alone there are a few opportunities for independent practice, and few to no chances for partner or small group instructional time. The overwhelming majority of instructional time for Journeys is spent in whole group format. In my opinion, the Journeys program is a good program, but I think it is enhanced when it is used in conjunction with Daily 5 and reading groups, or another program. The intermixing of these two programs gives students a wider variety of how instructional time is spent. This breaks up the monotony and allows students who may learn better in different formats the chance to actually learn in the way in which they are most comfortable.
My first suggestion for extending the role of a balanced literacy approach in this classroom would be for the teacher to expand the use of the CAFÉ menu. Mrs. I. has the complete CAFÉ menu displayed in her room. Yet, I did not see her, nor did she mention when I talked with her, use the board at all. I know that many of the strategies and skills that are on the menu are taught in this classroom because Journeys includes instruction of many of them in their lessons. But, as a compliment to this instruction I feel she could use the CAFÉ menu and strategies. For example, she could look for students who may be struggling with a certain aspect of reading who would benefit from instruction in one or more of the CAFÉ strategies. Then she could form strategy groups, as the creators of the CAFÉ menu suggest. I believe the extra instruction or even just the knowledge of what the board contains and how to use it would be beneficial for the students. It would simply be giving the students more exposure to and resources for Mrs. I’s CAFÉ menu success in literacy.
The second and third suggestions that I developed in order to extend the role of a balanced literacy approach in this classroom are both in regards to writing. Time Spent on Writing ◦ The schedule says that the students have writing for 40 minutes every day. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When the class is behind on work or there is some special activity that needs to be done, writing is the subject that gets cut short or cut out of the day all together. The Journeys program does a good job of laying out a wide variety of skills, topics, and styles of writing that teachers should be teaching and students should be practicing. But, because writing is often the piece of instruction that is omitted due to time constraints, students are being shortchanged. Writing is so important and I believe a higher value needs to be placed on it in this classroom. Even if it means shortening other instructional areas once or twice throughout the week in order to fit in the full 40 minutes of writing I believe it would be worth it.
Instructional Grouping in Writing ◦ Whenever the class works on writing they begin working as whole class and then move onto writing independently once the task and/or skill has been explained and modeled. When the students begin working independently, the teacher usually walks around the room and monitors the students. She assures that they are on-task and will sometimes let them know of any corrections or improvements that they can make quickly and easily. Not until she actually corrects the writing pieces does she get the opportunity to look in-depth at each student’s writing. At this point she grades their pieces and makes some notes and corrections and gives it back to them so they can make the changes. Unless a student is having significant issues with writing there is little to no direct, individualized instruction that would address specifically what that student might need. The teacher just tells them what to change and how to change. They do it for this one piece, but the problem may occur again because there is no real action being taken to change the pattern. Therefore, I would propose that the teacher develop some meeting system, whether it is with individuals or small groups of students who would benefit from instruction in the same strategy. This would help to better address the needs of her students in terms of writing and help them to grow as writers.
The fourth suggestion that I would propose in order to expand and strengthen the balanced literacy approach for this classroom community would be to strengthen the home-to-school connection. Currently, there is nothing that is required in terms of literacy that the students have to take home to complete. The majority of the homework students receive in this class is usually in math, science, or social studies. The students do have the option of taking their library books home, they can choose to participate in Project Read, and some of the struggling readers partake in Early Success, but none of these things are required of the students. Therefore, not all students are getting literacy experiences at home. Having more connections between school and the home, in my opinion, would be beneficial for everyone. For example, it would allow the students more exposure and opportunities for practice, both of which are essential to student success in reading and writing. It would also allow the parents/guardians to have some insight as to what the students are working on in reading and writing at school. Kids are not always forthcoming about what they have done in school, but sending things home now and then for the students to work on could provide the parents with more awareness of what is happening. Some Ideas: ◦ Letters to Family- Children and parents write back and forth to one another in the form of a friendly letter. Provides practice for the students, but may also make writing seem more relevant to some when they see their parents doing it. ◦ Assigning the students texts to read at home with accompanying comprehension questions or with at-home activities that are all returned to school to verify completion. ◦ Assigning short writing pieces for the students to complete outside of the classroom on various topics.
Thanks for Taking aLook at the Literacy in thisCommunity, School, an d Classroom!