The July/August/September 2022 edition of Literacy Today from the International Literacy Association features an essay by Rachel Stack, chief academic officer for humanities at Great Minds®.
In “Developing Deep Teacher Knowledge,” Stack makes the case for aligning professional development to curricula designed to support students in building knowledge. “For English language arts teachers, having access to content-rich reading material is essential—but not necessarily enough. They also need strong professional development to become experts on the content they are teaching and on how to teach it effectively,” she writes.
Educators need to understand the science of reading, which involves both decoding (the ability to understand written words) and language comprehension (the process of understanding written and spoken words), to support students in developing their literacy skills. Having students read deeply about a topic and then write about it is much more effective than teaching reading and writing skills in isolation, Stack asserts.
Quality professional development for literacy teachers should focus on four areas: 1) learning to spot students’ reading differences in the early grades, 2) teaching writing in the context of knowledge-rich content, not as a set of standalone skills, 3) collaborating across grades to make instruction more coherent for students, and 4) building teacher knowledge by studying the meaning and craft of a text.
You can read Stack’s essay in its entirety in the online edition of ILA’s Literacy Today.
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Chad brings more than 23 years of experience in communications to Great Minds. He has served in three state education agencies, which included time assisting New Mexico’s secretary of education with the adoption of new education reform initiatives; serving as the communications director at the Washington, D.C., Office of the State Superintendent of Education; and working as an assistant to the Florida Commissioner of Education. Chad also worked at the U.S. Department of Education from 2004 to 2009 and served as the deputy assistant secretary for media affairs and strategic communication during his final two years there. Chad is a native of Bloomington, Ill., and graduated from Florida State University.