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Making Room for Adolescent Literacy

Featuring Dr. Don Deshler, Dr. Mel Riddile, and Christina Gutierrez in a discussion on school-level literacy reform. Our expert panel discusses what research says about good practice and how building-level leaders and classroom teachers can support struggling readers and writers.

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Program description

What can schools do to improve the reading and writing skills of adolescent students? Our panel of experts discusses ways to implement school-level literacy reforms without increasing staff or budgets. Learn how to use assessments to inform reform efforts; the importance of school literacy councils; the distinct role of school principals, reading specialists, and content-area teachers in literacy leadership; as well how to create a school culture that fosters achievement.



Don Deshler, Ph.D. is the director of the Center for Research on Learning (CRL) and a professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas. Dr. Deshler’s work addresses ways to close the large “achievement gap” and to reduce the escalating drop-out rate for struggling adolescent learners. His work focuses on designing instructional routines that can be used by secondary teachers to help them more effectively teach subject-matter content to academically diverse classes in secondary schools.

Mel Riddile, Ed.D. is the Associate Director for High School Services at the National Association of Secondary School Principals. He previously served as T.C. Williams High School and J.E.B. Stuart High School in Northern Virginia. Dr. Riddile’s areas of expertise include restructuring and reinventing high schools, adolescent literacy, ninth grade transition, school-based central office experience and consulting.

Chris Gutierrez is a Reading Specialist at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. She develops the school’s in-house professional development program.