In the first chapter of Transforming Literacy, Ron Berger discusses the challenge of finding “great informational texts” that both meet the Common Core standards and that are compelling to students. I know teachers at Kurt Hahn work hard to gather texts that will help students to gain perspective and build depth of knowledge in their content areas. If we want to ask students to develop their research skills and pursue a path of inquiry on their own, we need to consider what resources we make available to our students. Internet research is difficult, at best, if we want students to rely on valid, high quality texts. I spent some time today researching subscription databases that libraries often make available to researchers. Two that I am considering are the Gale databases and the ProQuest research databases. Each of these provides students with access full length articles from a variety of publications. If you want to check them out and post your opinion, I would love to hear input from the community about this possibility.
Since our shift to the Consortium and Performance Based Assessments, we have had many discussions as a staff about supporting students with writing. School-wide, teachers have adopted important writing scaffolds, which often include reading and annotation strategies. One of our goals this year will be to push students to do more independent research in addition to reading the anchor texts that teachers gather when preparing for a case study or learning expedition. This work raises many questions for me, including how to best support struggling readers in the demanding work of authentic research and writing. Ms. Lawit and I will be posting here some findings from our text: Transformational Literacy, along with new questions the text may raise for us. Feel free to comment, add your questions, or join us in the reading.
Ms. Coleman and Ms. Lawit are reading Transformational Literacy: Making the Common Core Shift with Work That Matters. Check back for their learning and conversation.
From the publisher:
Engage, challenge, and inspire students with work that matters Transformational Literacy, written by a team from EL Education, helps teachers leverage the Common Core instructional shifts–building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction, reading for and writing with evidence, and regular practice with complex text–to engage students in work that matters. Worthy texts and worthy tasks help students see the connection between their hard work as readers and writers and their capacity to contribute to stronger communities and a better world.
The stories, examples, and resources that permeate Transformational Literacy come primarily from the more than 150 EL Education schools around the country that support teachers to select, supplement, customize, and create curriculum, and improve instruction. The book also draws on EL Education’s open source Common Core English Language Arts curriculum–often cited as one of the finest in the country–and professional development offered to thousands of teachers to implement that curriculum effectively.
Transformational Literacy combines the best of what EL Education knows works for kids–purposeful, inquiry-based learning–and the new imperative of the Common Core–higher and deeper expectations for all students.
- Teach standards through a compelling and purposeful curriculum that prioritizes worthy texts and worthy task
- Improve students’ evidence-based reading, thinking, talking, and writing
- Support students to develop a new mindset toward the challenge of reading complex texts
Transformational Literacy introduces an approach to literacy instruction that will engage, challenge, and inspire student with work that matters.