Reading for Understanding: Helping Teachers Boost Student Achievement
Learn how the Reading Apprenticeship® framework has positively impacted adolescent literacy in two districts by helping students gain the reading independence to master subject area course materials and other “gatekeeper” texts. This recently updated evidenced based approach, developed on more than 20 years of research, involves building teacher teams with the support of school leaders, to create and sustain capacity across the district curriculum to boost student literacy, engagement, and achievement.
Becky Graf, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools (CMS) in N. Carolina, leads a team of literacy educators and instructional leaders and coaches in districtwide improvement of teaching and learning. She has worked for CMS since 2009 at the district level.
Sharon Sáez is SLI’s Partnership Development Director, her role is to build our Reading Apprenticeship professional development services; with a goal towards significantly increasing the amount of services provided to schools and districts. She is an accomplished leader and demonstrated change agent with the K-16 education community at the local, state, federal, private, and non-profit sector. She has worked as Senior National and International Sales Accounts Consultant with CTB-McGraw Hill Education and Educational Testing Services K-12. In addition, for over 20 years she has served as a core member of several organizations leadership teams; contributed knowledge and expertise in the area of standards-based accountability in K-12 education policy; and oversight of the implementation of projects to enhance education practices.
Ruth Schoenbach founded the Strategic Literacy Initiative 1995 and has nurtured it into a vital force for improving subject area literacy in middle school, high school, and community college. Her early work in the San Francisco school system as a teacher, curriculum developer, and humanities and language development project director informs her leadership and contributed to the development of the Reading Apprenticeship Instructional Framework that is the core of all SLI work. Currently, Ruth is co-director of the five-year scale-up RAISE project that is bringing Reading Apprenticeship to 600,000 high school students and their teachers in five states. Funding is provided by a federal Investing in Innovation (i3) grant. Ruth is also directing a second i3 grant, iRAISE, to translate face-to-face Reading Apprenticeship science professional development into an online course for STEM teachers and to develop a program of leadership development for a future scale-up of the STEM course across the country. Her experience developing online professional development includes a suite of courses for community college instructors: a popular introductory course in Reading Apprenticeship, and courses for instructors who want to deepen their Reading Apprenticeship instruction and coaching skills or participate in a leadership community of practice. She is co-author of the best-selling, Reading for Understanding, now in a second, revised and expanded edition. In addition, she is a co-developer of the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy Course curriculum and co-editor of an anthology that supports that course. With SLI colleagues, she has also published numerous articles in journals and other professional publications. Schoenbach received a BA in social sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, a bilingual multiple subjects teaching credential from San Francisco State University, and an EdM in teaching, curriculum, and learning environments from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Becky Graf is Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), located in the Charlotte, North Carolina region. CMS provides academic instruction, rigor and support each school day to more than 146,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade in 170 schools throughout the cities and towns of Mecklenburg County. CMS believes setting high standards for all students creates a greater opportunity for future success – in our communities, within the region and across our diverse and global society. Each day, CMS students are prepared to be leaders in a technologically savvy and globally competitive world. Eric Turman, Principal and Nicole Dysart, ELA Teacher represent Reading Senior High School (RSHS), also known as the Castle on the Hill. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has designated Reading High School as a Distinguished Title I School for its advancement in closing the achievement gap. Reading High is one of 96 schools in the state to receive this honor.
Reading High School was always categorized as one of the lowest performing schools in the state of Pennsylvania. Eric was determined that Reading would no longer be part of any state report that categorizes the school as low-performing. Reading High School has increased its graduation percentage from 53 to almost 70 percent over the past two years and the dropout rate has decreased from 13 to 5 percent. Over 70 percent of the graduates from 2012-2013, are studying on a college campus this school year. Under Eric’s leadership he has built a community of success where every teacher, administrator, staff and parent in the Reading School District has played a role in the success of the students. Eric is a strong leader with a shared vision that has carried him and his team to have a tremendous impact on the children attending Reading Senior High.