How is there enough time in the school day for you to teach content and strengthen your students’ reading, writing, and communication skills so they can access the curriculum you are expected to teach? Where is the funding to purchase materials and hire reading specialists/literacy coaches to support a greater spectrum of readers in your classes? Your school leaders play a vital role in prioritizing students’ literacy development within the school schedule and budget; they need to provide the time and money to support students’ literacy instruction across and within disciplines.
Effective secondary literacy leaders also build and nurture a knowledgeable school community guided by a thoughtful and sustainable schoolwide literacy plan. It is important to consider the myriad of variables that comprise a literacy plan, including but not limited to assessment tools, aligned curriculum goals, texts and materials, a supportive school schedule that allows for larger instructional blocks, intensive interventions appropriate to students’ needs, and collegial instructional teams supported through targeted, sustained professional learning.
Plan in Action: Brockton High School
Do strong literacy leaders and a defined literacy plan make a real difference? Let’s take a look at one school that faced the reality of failing test scores in reading and math and turned itself around.