The Reading Mentors Program: A Language and Literacy Partnership has built on the work of the pilot program which began in the summer of 2012 with 22 partner school districts located throughout Georgia. In the second iteration, the focus of the program has been expanded to encompass not only the conventional reading skills of decoding, oral reading fluency, reading comprehension, and spelling, but also the foundational early literacy skills that include speaking, listening, and writing. The following Language and Literacy Specialists (LLSs) methods promote research-based classroom practices needed to drive all students forward toward reading mastery by the end of third grade.
Quality Professional Learning
Research-based instructional strategies and practices will be presented at regularly scheduled, grade level specific professional learning meetings for immediate implementation and follow up.
Collection and analysis of student assessment data is important but only becomes meaningful when combined with effective instruction. LLSs will conduct on-going coaching meant to provide teachers with a practical approach to data-driven instruction and allow school leaders the ability to monitor and support implementation of best practices. LLSs have partnered with Insight Education Group to deliver its Coaching for Change Framework and to receive professional learning on virtual coaching. Please click here to view the GOSA vision of coaching.
Administrators and teachers will use data to formulate effective instruction; build on their current best practices; and develop a repertoire of research-based strategies to significantly enhance classroom instruction and student learning. LLSs will use the Dynamic Indicators for Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) as an assessment tool to evaluate student gains in reading.
What is assessment? Why is it important to data-driven instruction?
Assessment is information. The more information teachers have about students, the better they are able to prepare for classroom instruction, support students to achieve, and address and anticipate gaps in skills needed for reading comprehension. This information gives teachers valuable insight needed to tailor instruction to fit the needs of every student, making data part of an ongoing cycle of instructional improvement. Data can be a useful tool for students as well. Students are able to learn from feedback and see their progress throughout the year, making them more confident, motivated learners.
There are two types of assessment: summative and formative.
The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at a particular point in time by comparing it to a standard or benchmark. For example, the DIBELS Next benchmark assessments are given at three points in time during the school year and provide a picture of what students know and do not know based on specific early literacy indicators.
The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by teachers and students to improve instruction and learning while they occur. Formative Assessments should be part of the daily instructional practice. Instructional adjustments based on formative assessment help to ensure students achieve targeted, standards-based learning goals within a set time frame.