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Literacy: Systems Matter. An Infrastructure Approach To Reading Achievement (Webinar)

Mar 21, 2022 - Mar 21, 2022
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm (CST)

Moderated by Evelyn DeJesus, Executive Vice President, American Federation of Teachers, we welcome you to join presenters Sarah L. Woulfin, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy in the College of Education and Rachael Gabriel, Associate Professor; Director, Reading/Language Arts Center, NEAG School of Education, University of Connecticut for a virtual discussion on reading instruction for the Albert Shanker Institute.

Concerns about reading instruction, with attempts to convert schools towards evidence-based practice, are not new. Proponents of the “Science of Reading” (SOR) are now focusing on the need for teachers to concentrate on specific strands using particular instructional methods (e.g., phonics, explicit instruction). The assumption is that reading is not being taught in preferred ways because of deficits in individual teacher knowledge or the absence of appropriate instructional materials and tools. Thus, most discussion on the state of reading instruction neglect the structures, conditions, and leadership – or infrastructure – that enables improvement in schools and classrooms.

The discussion will unpack the pillars of this reading infrastructure – namely, resources for professional development, the alignment of available tools, principals’ communication about a reading curriculum, and teachers’ working conditions for collaborating to learn about different forms of reading instruction – reflecting on how a lack of attention to them can hamper science-based reading interventions. The panel will emphasize the need to move away from blaming (or praising) the individual teacher and offer recommendations to create the conditions that support effective reading interventions leading to successful, lasting outcomes.