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Professional Development

Time for Teachers: Leveraging Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers

Claire Kaplan, Roy Chan, David A. Farbman, and Ami Novoryta (2014) Time for Teachers: Leveraging Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers. National Center on Time and Learning and Teach Plus.

This report examines 17 high-performing and fast-improving schools around the country that have taken advantage of expanded school schedules to provide students with more time for engaging academic and enrichment classes and teachers with more time to collaborate with colleagues, analyze students data, create new lesson plans, and develop new skills. On average, U.S. teachers spend approximately 80 percent of their time on instruction, while the international average for countries is 67 percent. Meanwhile, teachers in the schools featured in Time for Teachers spend 60 percent of their expanded school schedule on direct instruction with 40 percent of their time on collaboration, coaching, one-on-one support, and other activities.

PreK-3rd: Getting Literacy Instruction Right

Lesaux, Nonie K. PreK-3rd: Getting Literacy Instruction Right. New York: Foundation for Child Development, 2013.
This brief outlines the elements of strong PreK-3rd literacy instruction including: what high-quality instruction looks like,what supports enable teachers to carry out strong literacy instruction, and what policies enable schools to carry out strong PreK-3rd reading instruction. High-quality, coordinated PreK-3rd literacy instruction expands children’s cognitive capacities, develops language and vocabulary, and prepares them to read advanced texts. These skills provide a sturdy foundation for school success and expanded life opportunities.

Lifting Pre-K Quality: Caring and Effective Teachers

Fuller, B, Gasko, J, Anguiano, R. (2010). Lifting Pre-K Quality: Caring and Effective Teachers. Children's Learning Institute.

This report focuses on helping pre-K teachers develop skills that matter for early learning. The researchers identified mentoring and training for preschool teachers as important tools to help them enrich their instructional activities in classrooms and boost the early language and preliteracy skills of 3- and 4-year-olds.

Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade

Shanahan, T., Callison, K., Carriere, C., Duke, N. K., Pearson, P. D., Schatschneider, C., & Torgesen, J. (2010). Improving reading comprehension in kindergarten through 3rd grade: A practice guide (NCEE 2010-4038). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from whatworks.ed.gov/publications/practiceguides.

This practice guide focuses on three areas that current research on reading indicates are critical to building a young student's capacity to comprehend what he or she reads: knowledge and abilities required specifically to comprehend text, thinking and reasoning skills, and motivation to understand and work toward academic goals. Five recommendations: (1) Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies; (2) Teach students to identify and use the text's organizational structure to comprehend, learn, and remember content; (3) Guide students through focused, high-quality discussion on the meaning of text; (4) Select texts purposefully to support comprehension development; and (5) Establish an engaging and motivating context in which to teach reading comprehension.

The Positive Effects of Literacy Collaborative on Teaching and Student Learning

Literacy Collaborative. (2009). The Positive Effects of Literacy Collaborative on Teaching and Student Learning. Cambridge, MA: Literacy Collaborative.

New results from a four-year longitudinal study of 17 schools in the East Coast suggests that in-school literacy coaches can help boost student reading skills by as much as 32 percent in three years. Teacher expertise increased substantially, and the more coaching a teacher received the stronger the growth. Additional benefits: communication among teachers increased and the literacy coordinators became more involved in the critical conversations.

Teaching Reading Well: A Synthesis of the International Reading Association's Research on Teacher Preparation for Reading Instruction

International Reading Association. (2007). Reading Well: A Synthesis of the International Reading Association's Research on Teacher Preparation for Reading Instruction. Newark, DE: Author.

This report synthesizes the findings of research efforts focused on identifying essential qualities of effective teacher preparation programs for reading instruction. It finds that good teacher prep programs provide students with excellent instructional content; faculty and teaching; apprenticeships, field experiences, and practica; diversity; candidate and program assessment; and governance, resources, and vision.

Effective Practices for Developing Reading Comprehension

Duke, N. K., & Pearson, P. (2002). Effective Practices for Developing Reading Comprehension. In Alan E. Farstrup & S. Jay Samuels (Eds.), What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction (3rd ed., pp. 205-242). Newark, DE: International Reading Association, Inc.

This research article summarizes much of the research about reading comprehension and what good readers do when they read. While the article does not specify that it is intended for adults and draws from research in the K-12 field, it has the potential to be useful to adult educators. The article makes a strong case for balanced comprehension instruction (explicit instruction and time to practice) and the need for a classroom that supports reading, provides real texts, provides a range of different genres, and provides an environment rich in language experiences including discussion about words and their meanings and text (meaning and interpretation).

Research to Practice: Phonemic Awareness in Kindergarten and First Grade

Abbott, M., Walton, C., & Greenwood, C. R. (2002). Research to practice: Phonemic awareness in kindergarten and first grade. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34 (4), 20-26.

Teachers attend a workshop and learn about a research-based practice. A consultant works with the teachers for a while to set up the program and maybe even conduct an evaluation and follow-up instruction. The consultant leaves; the teachers are on their own. A couple of years later, nobody can find evidence the program ever existed. Does this sound familiar? Why does this occur? What happens to make teachers drop programs that may even be excellent? The secret may lie in what does not happen. We set out to discover the secret to successful research-based practices as teachers use them in real life. The example we chose was a phonemic awareness program; this article describes how phonemic awareness research and intervention knowledge was successfully translated for teacher implementation over 3 years.

Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able to Do

Moats, L. C. (1999). Teaching reading is rocket science: What expert teachers of reading should know and be able to do. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.

This foundational report reviews the reading research and describes the knowledge base that is essential for teacher candidates and practicing teachers to master if they are to be successful in teaching all children to read well. Developed by the American Federation of Teachers(AFT).

The Impact of Two Professional Development Interventions on Early Reading Instruction and Achievement

Garet, M., Stephanie Cronen, Marian Eaton, Anja Kurki, Meredith Ludwig, Wehmah Jones, Kazuaki Uekawa, Audrey Falk, Howard Bloom, Fred Doolittle, Pei Zhu, and Laura Sztejnberg. The Impact of Two Professional Development Interventions on Early Reading Instruction and Achievement (NCEE 2008-4030). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

The report describes the effectiveness of two specific professional development strategies in improving the knowledge and practice of 2nd grade teachers in high-poverty schools and the reading achievement of their students. Both the 8-day content-focused institutes series (treatment A) and the institute series plus in-school coaching (treatment B) produced positive impacts on teachers' knowledge of scientifically based reading instruction and on one of the three instructional practices promoted by the professional development. However, neither intervention resulted in significantly higher student test scores at the end of the one-year implementation period. The institute series plus in-school coaching did not produce a significantly greater impact on teacher practice than the institute series alone.

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"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain