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Taking the Lead on Adolescent Literacy

Taking the Lead on Adolescent Literacy
Action Steps for Schoolwide Success

Edited by:
  • Judith Irvin - Florida State University, USA
  • Julie Meltzer - Mount Desert Island Regional School System (Mount Desert, ME), Center for Resource Management
  • Nancy Dean - University of Florida, USA, National Literacy Project
  • Martha Jan Mickler - National Literacy Project

Foreword by Andrés Henríquez

February 2010 | 248 pages | Corwin

Published in Association with International Reading Association

"This rich resource walks middle and high school literacy leaders through a comprehensive process for conceptualizing, initiating, and, most important, sustaining a schoolwide literacy learning program. The authors clearly know teachers and schools, and their reality-tested tools will prove invaluable in guiding and supporting middle and high school literacy leaders."
—Doug Buehl
Author, Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning

A systemic and sustainable approach for improving adolescent literacy and learning!

Taking the Lead on Adolescent Literacy provides educational leaders with a user-friendly and comprehensive planning process for developing a new literacy initiative—or for dramatically enhancing a current plan--that has the power not only to raise student performance levels but also to positively impact graduation rates, employability, and higher education success.

Using a five-stage framework that has been field-tested nationwide for more than a decade, the authors provide an array of resources to guide in-depth planning, implementation, and monitoring to ensure sustained results, supported by examples from literacy-rich schools, checklists and assessments, and a glossary of terms. Each stage in the process builds upon a school or district's existing capacities and focuses on six detailed rubrics that can be implemented at every stage to help ensure long-term success:

  • Student motivation and engagement
  • Literacy across the content areas
  • Literacy interventions
  • Literacy-rich environment, policies, and culture
  • Parent and community involvement
  • District support of school-based efforts

Helping educators build the critical skills in students for communicating and making meaning within an increasingly complex world, this book shows how a sustained focus on literacy can serve as a powerful lever for school improvement.

Foreword by Andres Henriquez
About the Authors
Part I. The Model, Process, and Rubrics
Rationale for a Schoolwide Focus on Literacy  
Why Focus on Literacy?  
How the Literacy Leadership Process Was Developed  
The Five-Stage Literacy Leadership Process  
How to Use the Literacy Leadership Process  
Introduction: The Literacy Action Rubrics
Description of the Rubrics  
Using the Literacy Action Rubrics  
The Literacy Action Rubrics  
Part II. Schoolwide Change in Five Stages
1. Stage 1: Get Ready
Step 1: Build an Effective Literacy Leadership Team  
Step 2: Create a Vision of a Literacy-Rich School  
Step 3: Use Data to Establish the Need for Literacy Improvement  
Next Steps  
2. Stage 2: Assess
Step 1: Identify School Strengths  
Step 2: Summarize Key Messages From Your School Data  
Step 3: Assess Current School Implementation Using the Literacy Action Rubrics  
Step 4: Draft Literacy Action Goals  
Next Steps  
3. Stage 3: Plan
Step 1: Develop an Implementation Map for Each Literacy Action Goal  
Step 2: Solicit Feedback From the School Community  
Step 3: Revise Literacy Action Goal Statements and Implementation Maps  
Step 4: Publish the Formal Literacy Action Plan  
Next Steps  
4. Stage 4: Implement
Step 1: Organize for Action  
Step 2: Monitor and Troubleshoot Implementation  
Step 3: Monitor Progress Toward Goals  
Step 4: Plan How to Sustain Momentum  
Next Steps  
5. Stage 5: Sustain
Step 1: Summarize Progress Toward Goals  
Step 2: Revise Implementation Maps  
Step 3: Analyze Success as a Literacy Leadership Team  
Step 4: Plan How to Sustain Momentum  
Next Steps  
Part III. Supporting School and District Administrators as Literacy Leaders
6. The Principal's Role
Support Literacy Leaders  
The Five Action Points of the Taking Action Literacy Leadership Model  
7. District Support
Communicate That Literacy Is a Priority  
Provide Professional Development  
Provide Specific Types of Fiscal Support  
Establish Uniform Policies and Procedures Across the District  
Use Data to Improve Instruction and Monitor Program Effectiveness  
Develop and Implement a District Literacy Action Plan  
Use the Five Action Points of the Taking Action Literacy Leadership Model  
Review the District Plan to Ensure Alignment With State Planning and Advocacy  
Resource A. School Vignettes
Resource B: Tools to Use When Implementing the Five-Stage Process
Resource C: Examples of Each Rubric Component in Action
Resource D: High School Case Study
Resource E: Matrix of Resources Available in Taking Action on Adolescent Literacy and Meeting the Challenge of Adolescent Literacy
Resource F: Glossary of Terms

"The connections regarding best practice research from multiple fields—differentiation, professional development, curriculum mapping, 21st-century literacy, assessment, and instructional strategies—are critical and very well done. These connections are made in a professional, understandable way with theories and classroom applications articulated across grade levels and in many formats: scoring guides, prose, questions, vignettes, case studies, and graphics."

Darlene Castelli, Literacy Coach/Reading Specialist
Clayton High School, MO

"Wow! This book gives school and district leaders and teams the what, why, and how to do the rocket science work of getting every student to read and write at grade level or above. Principals and literacy teams no longer need to be stuck in the 'We don’t know what to do next' world of frustration."

Bess Scott, Director of Elementary Education
Lincoln Public Schools, NE

"This rich resource walks middle and high school literacy leaders through a comprehensive process for conceptualizing, initiating, and, most important, sustaining a schoolwide literacy learning program. The authors clearly know teachers and schools, and their reality-tested tools will prove invaluable in guiding and supporting middle and high school literacy leaders."

Doug Buehl, Author, Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning

"The Literacy Project is a systemic process that guarantees all students access to superior instructional strategies."

Kathleen P. Norton, Principal
Arvada High School, CO

"This literacy project changed the culture and focus of our school in less than a year. Following the process outlined in this book allowed our literacy team to personalize the project to our school and needs. Our team presented our project to our staff in August and our teachers have implemented it faithfully. Our students know the slogan and are excited about the project. The literacy team has kept the excitement high for the year."

Trip Sargent, Principal
North Arvada Middle School, CO

"I have seen numerous educational initiatives come and go in my forty-some years working with schools, but nothing has been as important, relevant, or long lasting as adolescent literacy. Schools that have principals and teachers who have stayed the course with embedded literacy strategies across the curriculum, that focus on literacy rich culture and structures in their buildings, that have students using literacy strategies on their own, and that have staff and students reading and sharing, are the schools that make significant gains in their educational achievement."

Betty A. Jordan, Director
Washington County Consortium, Machias, ME

"The most beneficial aspect of the literacy action planning process was providing training and asking for input from teachers from the very beginning. Literacy support team members were able to reflect on the unique and specific strengths and needs of their buildings and utilize this information to develop a practical implementation plan. The time spent working together on the literacy action plan helped build community and foster a sense of ownership in the change process."

Lisa White, District ELA Coordinator
Plymouth Public Schools, MA

"In each chapter I found honest descriptions of the tough issues faced by schools trying to focus on literacy across the content areas. More important, the chapters are full of guidelines and practical suggestions for dealing with those challenges. The implementation maps and the rubrics that help school literacy teams diagnose issues, establish goals, monitor implementation, and sustain changes are particularly valuable resources. The authors know that change requires a systems approach with all levels of school and community involved over an extended timeframe. I heartily recommend this as a very useful tool for schools wanting to implement a schoolwide commitment to literacy."

Donna Ogle, Professor of Reading and Language
National-Louis University

“The five-stage literacy leadership process in the book provided my principals and teachers with an easy-to-follow, researched-based guide to develop a successful literacy program within their schools.”

Jerryelyn L. Jones, Chief Area Officer
Area 24, Chicago Public Schools, IL

"As educators living in this world of high-stakes accountability, we need a way to focus our activities to be sure that our hard work is well spent. The literacy action planning process developed by Irvin and her colleagues has helped several schools in our district realistically assess their strengths and opportunities for improvement and develop concrete action plans for schoolwide literacy improvement."

Connie Kolosey, Supervisor of Secondary Reading
Pinellas County Schools, FL

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