Magazine article Curriculum Administrator


Magazine article Curriculum Administrator


Article excerpt

Professional Development Video Series Covers Literacy Topics

Courses help primary and middle school teachers instill reading and writing skills in students.

Nine years ago a report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicated that nearly 40 percent of nine-year-olds were reading below the basic level. Although schools have launched a variety of reading initiatives to boost scores, the new 2000 report shows that scores have remained essentially unchanged from the earlier studies.

The challenge and practice of getting children to read and write--not only at grade level, but also on a higher-order level--is addressed in two professional development video series by Canter & Associates. Strategies for Teaching Reading, K-6, and Reading and Writing in the Content Areas are designed to instruct teachers, literacy coaches, lead teachers and administrators in key strategies for increasing literacy skills in reading/language arts and all content areas of curriculum.

Strategies for Teaching Reading, K-6, presents a broad spectrum of research-based strategies aligned with state standards, for primary school teachers.

The five-tape, 16-program series takes a balanced approach to reading instruction by incorporating the best features of the four historical approaches to reading: writing/language experience, phonics, literature, and basal reader or anthology.

"From a teaching perspective, the series gives them some very strong concepts and strategies that will help them create a balanced literacy program," says Jacqui Hook, content developer for the series. "These are practical strategies based on sound research that they can use in their classroom whether they have an adopted series in their class already or not. This training will support their current programs."

"We have some of the leading literacy experts in this package, such as Richard Allington, Patricia Cunningham, Susan Watts-Taffe, Susan Mandel Glazer, Peter Afflerbach, Dorothy Strickland and Ellen Rosow," says Hook. "The series includes presentations, interviews and classroom demonstrations from these experts. We deliver the information straight from the experts."

In one program, for example, Cunningham demonstrates activities to teach and reinforce phonetic awareness and phonics instruction. Later Afflerbach presents effective ongoing reading assessments that can inform instruction.

An accompanying leader's guide offers detailed instructions, including discussion questions and activities, for presenting the professional development to reading teachers.

"It's a theory-based program, but it's also very practical," says Hook. "For every strategy presented there is a wonderful take-away sheet that has clear step-by-step instructions for implementation of each of these strategies. In fact, you can start tomorrow--you've got the tools, the steps and the materials you need to begin implementing the strategies right away."

The cost of the complete video package, including a 150-page leader's manual, is $795.

Reading and Writing in the Content Areas features five video-cassettes (about 4 hours of viewing time) covering five strategies-based modules. The modules present strategies that can be used in all subject areas including social studies, math, science and English.

The tapes feature literacy experts Richard Vacca, Carol Santa, John Readence and Kathleen Hinchman in a self-paced professional development program. The videos and accompanying study guides are geared for individuals or small group study.

Modules cover topics such as reading logs and response journals, small group discussion, guided reading procedures, contextual redefinition, point-of-view guides, essay prompts and more.

The cost of the Reading and Writing in the Content Areas series, including five study guides is $495.



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