Building Capacity for Effective Reading Instruction through Collaborative Inquiry

Students who can read effectively and efficiently have an essential door-opening skill: an ability to decode, understand and successfully interact with information in a host of subject areas, and an opportunity to be a successful learner. The focus of this course is to learn and apply specific coaching strategies in the teaching of reading. The course is designed to work with any and all reading instruction and methodologies. This course focuses on creating effective lesson plans with articulated and planned outcomes and various ways to assess and improve them. You will be required to create lesson plans that identify your intended outcomes, the state standard and grade level to which you are teaching and how you used the coaching strategies taught in this course to develop and assess your lesson plan and its outcomes. Effective coaching strategies are paired with intentional best practices in reading in an effort to grow both reading instructional and coaching/communication/leadership skills.

Educators will:

  • analyze effective and ineffective communication structures;
  • choose and use effective methods for data collection and analysis;
  • design and use essential questions in reading instruction and in coaching;
  • demonstrate the four components of reading instruction to plan for in every class, especially content area instruction: reading with and to students.
  • demonstrate how enduring understanding, student engagement, student outcomes, and teacher behaviors that cause learning to happen are foundational to every subject and to the coaching interaction;
  • differentiate instruction based upon enduring understanding, while varying difficulty and complexity of content that is read;
  • construct effective reading lessons based upon research-based practices in reading;
  • distinguish between effective and ineffective lessons/instructional episode/practices
  • implement the different reading demands of specific subject areas and design lessons to assist students’ abilities to read in content areas, with special emphasis upon reading rate; correspondingly brainstorm a building-wide coaching and collaboration process for increasing student reading achievement.

Teachers who have taken this course have this to say about the course:

“I learned a great deal through this course about how to use coaching as a way to improve reading instruction within my classroom and school. One of the most important things that I learned in this course was the importance of developing a trusting and mutually beneficial coaching relationship. By speaking to your partner with respect, and focusing on the data rather than on personal opinion, coaching partnerships can benefit both teachers involved. I plan to implement this into my practice by being very conscientious during coaching meetings to stay focused on the information provided by the data, and not spend time talking about my own experiences or advice. Another key learning from this course was exactly how interlaced all subjects are as far as reading skills. For example, reading skills taught in science class can be helpful for students when they are presented with a nonfiction text in social studies. Understanding and being able to see this connection will affect my teaching practice because I will be more cognizant of how my reading instruction will manifest in other subject areas. I plan to make concrete connections for my students on how their reading skills transcend the classroom environment, and can help them to understand how to read in all contexts.”

“I think that the most important take away for me with this course was the idea that I’m not in it alone. Teaching can be such a lonely business, but that the success of my students can improve the more I share what I know and tap into the knowledge of others. The other thing I think was so valuable about this class was the idea of enduring understanding and the idea of what I’m calling reverse planning. Where do I want to go?? Now what do I need to teach my students to help get them there. So often I have jumped off the diving board only to realize that I never intended to go swimming, then literally had to back stroke my way out of the pool and begin the whole thing over again. With the idea of knowing exactly where I want to go with the enduring understanding, I won’t accidentally find myself teaching things the students don’t need to know at that moment. This was a liberating and freeing feeling for me, not that I didn’t always know it, but that I now have the clarity and know-how to implement it, and best yet, my co-teacher and I can do it together!!”

“I learned a lot of valuable information in this class that I can apply in my own practice. I learned what types of questions and discussions can help me as a coach to help my colleagues to move towards their best practice. I learned about enduring understandings and how important it is to put your energy and focus in teaching towards enduring understandings because they will yield the biggest payback for all of our students. I learned how important it is to teach phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency and the most effective ways to teach them. I learned about ineffective and effective vocabulary instruction and how to choose the words that again will lead towards enduring understandings. I learned strategies that I can apply in my own teaching that will move my students towards better comprehension of the texts that they read. I can’t wait to use the Pre, During, and Post reading strategies that I learned in the class because I know they will really help my students to understand the texts that we read.”

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