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Literacy Tip of the Week: Week of February 24th

posted Feb 24, 2019, 11:25 AM by Courtney Richardson
Building Teacher Capacity in Guided Reading
To help build teacher capacity, a district in Florida adopted a cohort model of professional development. The cohort consisted of about 20 classroom “lead” teachers (chosen by their principals) and one guided reading trainer. They met throughout the year to study and analyze data, model and co-teach lessons, observe one another teaching, and give feedback to plan for next steps. 
The district supported the initiative by providing the materials they needed to plan and teach high-quality guided reading lessons. These materials included The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading, The Guided Reading Teacher’s Companion, and guided reading books and lesson plans from Literacy Footprints ( ). Each lead teacher met individually with the guided reading trainer on a monthly basis to discuss student needs, share guided reading lessons, and receive feedback. Additionally, the lead teachers videotaped themselves and met with their cohort several times after school to attend sessions led by the trainer. These evening trainings focused on how prompting, word study, and guided writing change as students progress through text levels. Lead teachers brought student data to help them identify a teaching focus. Data included anecdotal notes from guided reading lessons and recent running records. The teachers worked in pairs to analyze each student’s processing system, and they used The Guided Reading Teacher’s Companion to find the appropriate language for teaching and prompting. 
After watching videos of each other teaching guided reading lessons, the teachers used non-evaluative descriptive language to share their observations. Participants also had an opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions. After the open discussion, the trainer was able to offer insights and address the questions and suggestions. The ultimate goals were to increase the lead teachers’ ability to observe, interpret, and analyze reading behaviors and help propel students forward with their reading.  
This model was such a success with first grade teachers that the district is now implementing it across all grade levels. Most important, students’ reading and writing skills have increased significantly.
Written by: Tammy Seals, M.S.Ed.-