Research and Resources

  • READING RESEARCH

    Reading is the foundation of a balanced literacy approach to instruction. It promotes inquiry, critical thinking, and empathy in our students, which is why a central goal of the balanced literacy approach is to develop lifelong reading habits and a love of reading for all of our learners. In classrooms, instruction is implemented through Reading Workshop in a combination of ways, including read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, literature study, and independent reading. These components are further detailed in the Winnetka Literacy Instructional Framework. The Florida Center for Reading Research recognizes the importance of balanced literacy and the integration of the five critical components of reading: Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.

    Reading Instruction Includes:Students reading in classroom

    • Time for students to practice skills and strategies daily.
    • Explicit instruction combined with guided and independent practice.
    • Ongoing formative and summative assessment to monitor student progress.

    Instruction in Winnetka 36 Classrooms

    Literacy teachers, grades K-8, developed grade-specific essential questions and understandings as well as targeted knowledge and skills (Reading Overviews). This ensures that all students will be exposed to the same language and skills at every grade level. Differences exist in the implementation of reading and writing instruction from grade to grade and classroom to classroom; however, the approach to instruction remains the same. All teachers in District 36 are viewed as informed decision-makers, and instruction should be flexible according to students' readiness, interest, and learning profiles.

    Instructional Materials

    The Language Arts Committee selected a bundle of resources for teaching reading. One resource is the Units of Study for Teaching Reading (K-5) from Teachers College, Columbia University. Research behind their program is detailed on the Reading and Writing Project website under Research Base. Lucy Calkins has been a leader in reading and writing instruction for over 25 years, and Teachers College develops scientifically proven, research-based reading curriculum and instructional methods. Another resource for instruction is the Literacy Continuum from Fountas and Pinnell. Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell developed the Literacy Continuum after “over two decades of research and practical work with teachers.” The third resource (grades 1-8) is The Reading Strategy Book from Jennifer Serravallo. Middle school teachers also use strategies from Notice and Note by Kylene Beers. All of these leaders in education are part of Heinemann’s network of professional development and resources available to educators. Winnetka Language Arts teachers worked over the summer to develop learning/teaching plans from the bundled resources. Reading strategies utilized in the learning plans are also found in the research-based strategies listed by the Florida Center for Reading Research and found in one or more of the bundled resources.
    https://drive.google.com/a/winnetka36.org/file/d/0B_LIKZR3QWP3YndEZEYzN01qN0U/view?usp=drive_web

    Florida Center for Reading ResearchStudent working with teacher

    High-quality reading instruction incorporates the five components of reading delivered through a coherent instructional design.

    "Research has repeatedly demonstrated the importance of initial instruction that includes the five critical components of reading: Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension. To be most effective, the five critical components need to be taught explicitly within classrooms that are strongly positive and engaging, use writing activities to support literacy, and provide students with many opportunities to read interesting text and complete authentic reading and writing assignments. Teachers typically follow a core reading curriculum to guide instruction in whole and small group settings. Small group instruction should be individualized to reflect the instructional needs of the students. Individual student needs are determined by formal screening and progress monitoring assessments, classroom assessments, and teacher observations. The goal is to use information from multiple sources to group students in a way that makes instruction in critical reading skills most efficient. For more information on the content and sequence for delivery of these please see Components of Reading."

    WRITING RESEARCH

    In classrooms, writing instruction is implemented through Writing Workshop and process writing. Children engage in a balance of narrative, informational, and argument/opinion/persuasive types of writing for various purposes and audiences. The teacher guides the process and provides instruction through modeling, mentor texts, shared writing, guided practice, and conferencing. Students independently utilize the skills and strategies that have been modeled. Students generate ideas, plan, draft, revise, edit, publish and reflect upon their work. Research supporting the Writing Workshop approach and the importance of the writing process is documented by numerous professional developers and literacy leaders including Lucy Calkins and Mary Ehernworth from Teachers College, Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, Ralph Fletcher, and Donald Graves, among many others.

    Writing Instruction Includes:

    • Time for students to practice skills and strategies daily.
    • Explicit instruction combined with guided and independent practice.
    • Ongoing formative and summative assessment to monitor student progress.

    Instruction in Winnetka 36 Classrooms

    Literacy teachers, grades K-8, developed grade-specific essential questions and understandings as well as targeted knowledge and skills (Writing Overviews). This ensures that all students will be exposed to the same language and skills at every grade level. Differences exist in the implementation of reading and writing instruction from grade to grade and classroom to classroom; however, the approach to instruction remains the same. All teachers in District 36 are viewed as informed decision-makers, and instruction should be flexible according to students' readiness, interest, and learning profiles.

    Instructional Materials

    The Language Arts Committee selected a core resource for teaching writing. This resource is the Units of Study for Teaching Writing (K-8) from Teachers College, Columbia University. Research behind their program is detailed on the Reading and Writing Project website under Research Base. Lucy Calkins has been a leader in reading and writing instruction for over 25 years, and Teachers College develops scientifically proven, research-based reading curriculum and instructional methods. Another resource for instruction is the Literacy Continuum from Fountas and Pinnell. Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell developed the Literacy Continuum after “over two decades of research and practical work with teachers.” All of these leaders in education are part of Heinemann’s network of professional development and resources available to educators.

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