Overview

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This module explores the necessary tools for leading literacy instruction on a district- or system-wide basis. The module considers the following topics in its text, linked resources, and embedded videos:

  • Leading literacy improvement
  • Foundations for leading literacy improvement
  • The science of reading
  • Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement
  • Understanding literacy and other related standards
  • Improving literacy instruction
  • Fostering good literacy instruction
  • Student assessment

The content in this module aligns closely with other OLAC modules on curriculum, assessment, and instruction. These three modules point to the central work of schools – what some call the “pedagogical core.” This module applies knowledge about the pedagogical core as it specifically relates to literacy to instructional leadership practice at the district, school, and leadership-team levels.

This module also aligns with Ohio’s Leadership Development Framework in the following areas:

  • Area 1: Data and the Decision-Making Process
  • Area 2: Focused Goal-Setting Process
  • Area 3: Instruction and the Learning Process
  • Area 4: Community Engagement Process
  • Area 5: Resource Management Process

Literacy Leadership Module Documents

Discussion Questions

  1. The state of Ohio—via the Department of Education and its policies (e.g., Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement) as well through legislation (e.g., HB 436 or the “Right to Read” law)—supports literacy instruction using the science of reading. What is the science of reading and how do these state-level policy choices offer guidance for how to lead literacy in schools and districts?
  2. Discuss the key linkages between literacy content standards, assessments, and data. Some things to consider are the ways in which standards are linked to assessments, the type of data those assessments produce, and the types of strategic decision-making a leader might be able to engage in based on those data.
  3. Educational improvement involves work across three interrelated domains: inclusive instructional and organizational leadership, capacity-building through professional capital, and inclusive instructional practice. What do these domains look like through a literacy-specific lens? How is each important to leadership of literacy improvement?
  4. What strategies can leaders use to focus walkthroughs on support for teachers, not judgments of them? What role can non-evaluative walkthroughs play in leading literacy improvement?
  5. The module suggests that explicit instruction underlies structured literacy approaches across the grade levels. What is the rationale for this claim? What steps would you use to find evidence that either supports or refutes the claim?

Activities

Introductory Activities

  1. [Team-wide] Imagine that your team is discussing the issue of declining scores in second grade reading performance on short-cycle assessments. How would you organize a PDSA cycle to respond to this issue? What data would you use? How would you incorporate the science of reading into the discussion?

  2. Reread the module’s guidance for choosing effective professional development (PD). With your team, review the literacy-focused PD that your school or district will participate in this academic year. Using the module as a guide, assess whether or not your planned PD meets the threshold for high-quality (i.e., effective) PD. If it doesn’t, brainstorm ways to modify the PD to increase its probable effectiveness.

Advanced Activities

  1. [District-wide] Assume your district, which does not currently use a structured literacy approach, has decided (via the DLT) to require widespread use of this approach—across all classrooms in all schools. As the central office administrator tasked with leading the change process, consider the following questions:

    1. What steps would you take to plan implementation of the new, structured literacy approach?
    2. Who would you include in implementation planning?
    3. How would you involve OIP teams (i.e., the DLT, BLTs, and TBTs) in implementation planning?
    4. What data would guide your planning efforts? Why would these data (in particular) be important? How would you gather, analyze, and report these data?
    5. What major implementation issues would your implementation plan address and why is each issue critical to the plan overall?

  2. [School-wide] As part of a district-wide initiative, your school has recently started to use new instructional practices that provide structured literacy instruction to all students. Teachers have received an adequate amount of relevant professional development and feel comfortable using the new practices; and TBTs are monitoring implementation fidelity. In general, your teachers are supportive of the new approach with its grounding in the science of reading, and many parents favor the new strategy as well. As the principal, though, you are working with a group of parents whose children are in the talented and gifted (TAG) program. These parents say that the new reading lessons require their children to engage in repetitive practice of decoding skills that they have already mastered (as indicated by their high achievement on reading tests). Consider the following questions:

    1. What is your perspective on the parents’ complaint?
    2. What evidence supports your perspective? What additional evidence do you need to consider in order to address the parents’ concerns?
    3. In what ways will you involve your teachers in making decisions about how to address the instructional needs of the students in the TAG program?

You can earn credit and contact hours for modules, webinars, and podcasts completed on the OLAC site.

For more information, visit the Credit Corner. If you’re seeking credit for the Gifted Education Professional Development Course or the Culturally Responsive Practices Program courses, you can find that information on the course overview pages.