Sunday, March 29, 2009

How to Improve Reading Achievement

Dr. Timothy Shanahan spoke on “How to Improve Reading Achievement”. He shared his vision for improvement in reading achievement by relating it to an inverted pyramid of literacy. The pyramid can be accessed at He made a point that the school improvement process requires a coherent response from all involved, and this begins with leadership, which is the first tier of the pyramid. His second tier, which can have the biggest impact based on leadership factors from tier one, is the amount of instruction as well as an organized curricular framework. Dosage makes the difference and the important thing to note is that the 2-3 hours of reading instruction that he suggested as the Reading Czar for Chicago Public Schools was not necessarily “uninterrupted” but was totaled and used as effectively as possible across all grades K-12 (everyone). Tier 3 was made of “Assessment and Monitoring”, “Professional Development” and “Teacher Materials”. The diamond focus of the tier is professional development. The last tier is about “Special Programs, Special Kids” (students who need other programs or special interventions), “Parents”, “Quality Variables” and “Motivation”.
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