Early Reading Accelerators Series (Part 2): Sharing District Perspectives on Equitable Reading Instruction

Authors: Student Achievement Partners , Council of the Great City Schools

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There is a need for support, guidance, and sharing of best practices in order to meet the needs of all readers when it comes to early reading instruction, and these needs have been exacerbated by school closures and distance or hybrid learning over the past six months. In this 3-part series, hosted by the Council of the Great City Schools and Students Achievement Partners, experts and urban school district practitioners will present and discuss (1) the latest findings about teaching foundational skills and making use of complex text as part of a comprehensive literacy approach and (2) the pedagogy related to teaching foundational skills, including phonemic awareness, to monolingual students and English Learners (ELs).

During the second session of this series, guest presenters from the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District and San Antonio Independent School District will address the following guiding questions:

  • How are districts complementing, amplifying, modifying their instructional frameworks, curriculum, and approach to attend to best practices in early reading?
  • How are districts specifically supporting English Learners in these practices?
  • What do teachers need to know about English and ELs’ home language in order to teach foundational skills in meaningful ways?
  • How are districts attending to equitable instructional practice and the student experience?

About the Districts: 

  • Charlotte Mecklenburg School District (CMS) serves 148,299 students from 183 countries, speaking 197 languages and dialects across 175 schools. What Matters Most in CMS is the focus on the instructional core- including, students, teachers, and content. The district has been on an early literacy journey the past two years focusing specifically on the student experience and access to foundational skills through a standards-aligned curriculum. The collaboration between the Equity department and Learning and Teaching department has allowed for aligned messaging to school leaders and streamlined professional development for instructional staff. CMS is committed to constant action to ensure excellent educational opportunities for every child at every school.
  • San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) sits in the heart of the city of San Antonio, Texas. Currently serving close to 50,000 students with a 90% Hispanic community of which 20% are English Learners. We have tremendous pride in the cultural and linguistic assets that our community has to offer. We began a pilot two years ago with new district leadership to explore our early literacy practices and policies. In a deeply collaborative approach, we engaged in the creation of Spanish Read Alouds and adjusted to meet the needs of our 42 Elementary and Academy Dual Language programs. We have reflected on the "why" behind our instructional decisions and have brought in stakeholders to co-construct how we define literacy in SAISD.

This learning experience will be most powerful if used as part of a comprehensive, ongoing program of content-specific professional learning. To learn more, see the Professional Learning Principles.

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