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True Literacy: 3 Areas of Focus to Improve Reading Instruction

In this installment of the True Literacy video column, Dr. Michael Hart shares his thoughts on the importance of establishing systemic processes ahead of intervention.

He asks leadership to take more of a critical role in bringing program awareness to the forefront by focusing on communicating a vision that keeps teachers engaged and supported. The support for teachers should come in the form of better training and collaboration that is backed by recent evidence-based research for better results.

Finally, he introduces the concept of "crossing the chasm," which asks educators to reexamine how we are approaching the teaching of reading. Through the integration of the science of reading into already established programs and professional development practices, educators may gain an edge in tackling some of the complexities surrounding proficiency.

As you watch the video, reflect on these three areas of focus to improve reading instruction:

1. Leadership and systemic processes―Leaders should educate themselves on identifying learning issues, as well as gain knowledge on how to treat problems. This provides a context for understanding why it's so important to create the systemic processes in schools that set the foundation for successful interventions to be implemented.

Reflection question: As a leader, how much do you know about learning challenges and what are you doing currently to become more knowledgeable? How are you communicating the importance of this knowledge to your faculty?

2. Teacher training, support, and collaboration―In the past, there was too much focus on phonological processing at the expense of other cognitive processes that are imperative to teaching children to read. Specifically, there needs to be a focus on morphology and orthography. Teacher training and support should be established from recent evidence-based research that helps identify all the different pieces that go into making an effective reader.

Reflection question: How are you providing ongoing teacher training and support to improve literacy instruction? What training or collaboration have you sought out personally?

3. "Crossing the chasm" by integrating the science―What we now know about the science of reading must be integrated into university programs and professional development. Teaching reading is very complex, and it takes time to be proficient, much less masterful. The content is there, but we need to do a better job of integrating it into the areas where school personnel become trained.

Reflection question: Dyslexia education is a complex effort, and it's important to frequently remind ourselves to be patient and compassionate for ourselves and others as we work through the process. In what ways can you do this in 2020?

Head on over to trueliteracy.in for more in-depth analysis and information.

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