Spring Reading Recovery professional learning event unites lead teachers from across ten states and D.C.
Reading Recovery professional learning remains diligent in its effort to support and prepare teachers to work effectively with first-grade students having the most difficulty learning to read and write. Recently, Reading Recovery at The Ohio State University hosted more than 35 teacher leaders (teachers who train and support Reading Recovery teachers within school systems), via Zoom, from statewide Ohio school districts as well as districts across ten states, including D.C., Indiana, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Maryland Virginia and West Virginia. The two-day virtual event blended theory with practice for literacy intervention through group activities and break-out discussions, individual reflections and interactive guest speakers.
Building on the momentum from the fall professional learning sessions, activities and topics supported teacher leaders to examine specific theories of literacy and focused on ways educators can engage with legislators to educate and advocate for Reading Recovery as a powerful intervention.
“Ongoing professional learning for Reading Recovery teacher leaders is always invigorating, said Jamie Lipp, Mary Fried Endowed Clinical assistant professor lead, Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative, Teaching and Learning. “Collaboration and problem-solving with so many literacy experts continue to build both advocacy and passion for supporting emerging readers and writers. This spring, Ohio State affiliated Reading Recovery teacher leaders had the opportunity to consider advocacy from a policy lens as well as engage in active planning alongside others in their state, drawing upon the shared experiences of Kentucky teacher leaders.”
Rachael Gabriel, associate professor of Literacy Education at the University of Connecticut served as guest speaker. Rachael is author of more than fifty refereed articles, and author or editor of five books for literacy teachers, leaders and education researchers. Rachael currently teaches courses for educators and doctoral students pursuing specialization in literacy. She serves on the editorial boards of journals focused on literacy, education research and education policy, and on the boards of the International Literacy Association and Reading Recovery Council of North America. In addition to experience as a classroom teacher and reading specialist, Rachael holds graduate certificates in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Rachael’s research is focused on: literacy instruction, leadership and intervention, as well as policies related to teacher development and evaluation. Her current projects investigate supports for adolescent literacy, state literacy policies and discipline-specific literacy instruction.
Gabriel highlighted objectives from her articles “Interpreting Policy for Practice”, “The Sciences of Reading Instruction” and “The Future of the Science of Reading” that attendees examined during Reading Recovery’s fall professional development session.
“When faced with increasingly complex and specific legislative language, literacy educators need tools to systematically analyze policies that carry implication for practice,” said Gabriel.
Amy Emmons, Kentucky teacher leader, Dr. Amy Smith, Reading Recovery teacher leader, Richmond, KY, who has also served as Chair of Reading Recovery Council of North America (RRCNA) Advocacy Committee and currently serves as RRCNA’s President Elect, and Beth Magsig, Kentucky teacher leader, presented “Practical Ways to be Political in Advocacy for Reading Recovery.”
The group outlined its processes for maintaining funding, staying informed and also recommended channels to voice opinions to legislators on the potential impacts new education policy may have on early literacy.
“We encourage teacher leaders to build an assertive role in ongoing outreach activities as states develop and implement new education plans. Many resources are available that document the effectiveness of Reading Recovery—already determined to meet the strong evidence standards of ESSA—and the benefits of Reading Recovery training and ongoing professional development to comprehensive literacy efforts,” said Smith.