Common Literacy

Name of School:

Sarah Thompson

Our school is considered:

elementary

In five words or less, describe your prototype

Engaging students with shared literacy experiences.

Insert an image that showcases your prototype.

How might we?:

Ensure the needs of all learners are being met.

Describe the prototype(s) your school will focus on. Get creative. Be sure to describe the various approaches staff will take, what you will keep your eye on and how staff plan to document their results.

As a grade three team, we have identified specific learner needs for our students pertaining to reading and as a result, have created reading groups to focus in on to meet those needs. We have taken an "all hands on deck approach", ensuring that students are reading with an adult every single day; in our case, besides homeroom teachers, groups are led by our learning support team, our shared learning assistant, our librarian, and both administrators as well. Our focus has been on using balanced literacy to ensure we are engaging students on all aspects of literacy. Frequent check-ins are an important part of our approach, and we have the ability to document our observations in a shared Google Doc that all staff involved have access to. We chose a variety of mystery texts for students to pick from and utilized a "crime scene" as a provocation to get students "hooked" before we began the actual reading process. Each day, students meet with their larger group for a short mini-lesson. They then break off into smaller groups based on the text they have chosen, where they participate in shared reading, choral reading, book talks and other literacy activities. During this time, the adult readers have the opportunity to listen to students read, give them timely feedback, and are able to actively engage in group discussions, and these have been very valuable experiences for both students and group leaders. Mrs. Forest, our librarian, also provided a "Book Tasting", which was very well received and got students even more excited about reading.

Utilizing a group approach has been extremely beneficial for all that have been involved so far. When asked what they value from this experience, the most common response has been that they are reading at their level, and it feels really good! Student are also enjoying the opportunity to work with like-minded students and this is helping them view text from multiple perspectives. Many students are also independently seeking out a wider variety of books in reading. 
 
In order to understand the perspective of participants, we have captured some student quotes to speak for them:

What do you value most?
- "It's not just reading, but other fun stuff we get to work on."
- "Our time reading isn't just normal reading. It helps you learn and gives you more knowledge and it helps you become a better reader."
- "It's not just yourself; you have to pay attention."
- "The readers are really good and the teachers are good."
- "If you've never read those kinds of books before, you might learn new words and new kinds of books and that's really good."
- "My group really works together and we are able to meet our reading goals every day."
- "We feel balanced in our own way."

What excites you? 
- "I get excited because I'm becoming a better reader."
- "I like solving mysteries. I like finding all the clues and the suspects and using my thinking skills."
- "I get excited when we get to go to reading groups."
- "I am getting way better at fluency and comprehension."
- "I got excited because I'm reading books I've never read before and now I'm reading books in that series that I like."
- "I like going to reading group because I like spending time with my group and we get to read so many good books and we are becoming good readers."
- "Some of the activities I'm enjoying while reading Nate the Great is that now we are going to be making pancakes on Thursday!"

Our next steps are to slowly infuse a common shared literacy time throughout the school. It has given us the opportunity to reflect on reading behaviours and better inform our teaching practices to benefit all our students. We want every child to know that they are successful growing readers and they should celebrate this fact. As well, more classes are interested in having their own "Book Tasting", and our classes plan on having these become a more regular event for us to participate in.