Building a Rich Literacy Culture in Your School Community and Classroom

Building a Rich Literacy Culture in Your School Community and Classroom

Literacy Specialist – The research is very clear about the rewards of motivating kids to read, to think deeply, to talk about what they have read and to find something new. After all, practice makes perfect so that means read, read and read.

The only way we will see our students’ reading improve is to provide them with literacy-rich environments where they have access to copious numbers of books; they are surrounded by adults and peers who model strong reading behaviours; they are provided opportunities to question, wonder, make connections and have authentic conversations about what they have read with the people in their lives; and they are taught to read for joy, pleasure and purpose. Literacy researchers such as Allington, Calkins and others tell us that if we provide these environments, students will do better in school, achieve higher results and most importantly become successful, lifelong learners.

But motivating students to do what is good for them can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some suggestions to cultivate a culture of reading in our schools and classrooms:

  • Have students help to curate classroom libraries. Let them categorize, group and organize your library and in turn provide them with ownership over the collection. Use student librarians to help keep classroom libraries in order, organized and returned.
  • Create Personal Reading histories about books that matter and that have had a significant influence in their lives.
  • Organize book talks about summer readings or organize monthly discussions.
  • Show that you are a reader: create teacher book clubs, write your own book reviews, facilitate student/teacher breakfast book clubs and encourage parent/student book clubs.
  • Create a “buzz” around book selections by reading snippets of books that are funny, serious, sad, dramatic, strange or mysterious. Kids and adults love to be read to. There is a book for everyone; helping students find it is the key.
  • Host a book tasting or speed dating with text.
  • Create a Battle of the Books team to compete in the RVS Battle of the Books competition on Feb 15.
  • Use QR codes and Image Mapping AR apps like Aurasma to make reading and vocabulary activities come to life.
  • Have authentic conversations about reading with students and encourage them to have them with one another. This is a way to explore the deeper aspects of reading comprehension with readers.
  • Meet with students in different contexts (one-on-one, guided groups, small targeted strategy groups, partnerships) to target and support their growth in reading, introduce strategies, and to set goals.
  • Become a book champion! Share what makes books great and why students need to read them!
  • Invite the support of community members and organizations through Rocky View Reads partnerships.
  • Incorporate podcasts that can hook reluctant readers while boosting critical thinking and comprehension.
  • Vocabulary Parade: Students and staff dress up to illustrate vocabulary words in interesting ways (think of a roving cardboard rowboat full of sailors for the word nautical).

So, as the school year begins, let’s all roll up our sleeves and work together to create literacy-rich environments that will open our students’ worlds to new vocabulary, new ways of thinking, new perspectives and new understandings. Let’s continue to build a culture of reading in Rocky View so that our students can reap the rewards of a literate life. For more ideas and information check us out at http://schoolblogs.rockyview.ab.ca/makingliteracyvisible.

Ready to Roll Up Our Sleeves for Literacy!

Ready to Roll Up Our Sleeves for Literacy!

Literacy Specialists – “Literacy skills are required by everyone in every situation – life wide and throughout our lives – life long. “ (Government of Alberta, Living Literacy, p.6)

RVS’ Literacy Specialist Team #rvslit

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With seventy-one years of combined RVS experience, the literacy team is excited to share our passion, knowledge, and support to colleagues across the division as we work to build literacy & numeracy capacity among RVS educators.

literacyOur role is to educate, facilitate, and assist school administrators and educators with the implementation of RVS’ Literacy and Numeracy Framework. Through professional learning opportunities, resource awareness, and working alongside educators in the classroom and schools, we look forward to exploring new literacy tools, strategies, and  assessments in authentic and meaningful ways, while being cognizant of current educational research and the ongoing balanced literacy programming in our schools. These combined efforts will provide opportunities for us to build upon existing best literacy practices and, ultimately, lead to building all students’ competencies, helping to achieve their potential.

We hit the ground running on August 30 with a PL session co-facilitated by Dr. Karen Loerke, a literacy consultant who has been instrumental in the development of the RVS K-12 Literacy Framework . Together we got the chance to meet and work with over 90 teachers, literacy leads, and administrators from gr. 3-4 to provide PL on the Rocky View Independent Reading Comprehension Benchmark Assessment. Over the course of the day, participants were engaged in rich discussions about the assessment tool’s ability to inform instruction as well as provide authentic, ongoing reflections of student growth. Further to this session, we are looking forward to meeting more educators (Grade 1 and 2) on September 19th where we will provide PL on Running Records Assessment. Both these assessment tools are being field tested this year. If you are interested in learning more about these tools,  please contact your literacy coach or a member of the RVS literacy team.

Finally, we hope you will follow us on Twitter at #RVSlit, where we will share all things literacy, as well as showcase the great work that RVS educators are currently doing.

We are looking forward to collaborating with you.

Deb, Susan, Jody and Julie