Sandra Janzen and Theresa Hyrich explain grouping techniques (Photo by Allison Aitken)
A dedicated group of educators attended RCGW’s latest Pizza & PD session, “Current Trends in Literacy Assessment and Instruction,” presented by Reading Clinicians Theresa Hyrich and Sandra Janzen on Thursday, Feb. 6 at MTS McMaster House.
We began by discussing Regie Routman’s activity “Examining Beliefs about Reading,” found in Read, Write, Lead (ASCD, 2014). Hyrich and Janzen noted that determining a common framework for reading assessment and instruction begins by exploring what we believe about reading. They encouraged us to note how our thinking evolves over time and how such collaborative exercises promote collective teacher efficacy, a major determinant of student achievement according to Drs. Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie in Visible Learning for Literacy (Corwin, 2016).
Grounding their session in reading research, Hyrich and Janzen highlighted the Five Pillars of Reading identified by the National Reading Panel: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Strategy teaching in any one of these areas must be systematic (i.e. planned, logically progressive, and sequential) and explicit (i.e. clear, effectively modeled, and capturing students’ attention), even at the middle- and high-school level. According to Visible Learning for Literacy, teachers should work on these important surface-level skills in order to take learning deeper and to promote skill transfer.
We also received a taste of many activities that help students crack the reading code. For instance, Hyrich and Janzen recommended Sharon Zinke’s Rime Magic (Scholastic, 2017), an intervention tool that builds students’ word-recognition skills by using onset and rime to help them look into the middle of the word. Dr. David Kilpatrick’s Equipped for Reading Success (Casey & Kirsch, 2016) was also recommended as a must-have resource for developing students’ phonological awareness skills. Teachers could use Kilpatrick’s Phonological Awareness Screening Test, available for free online, to assess a student and could incorporate his one-minute follow-up activities into daily routines.
A crash-course review of the Fountas & Pinnell’s Benchmark Assessment System, 3rd Edition (Heinemann, 2016), highlighted the Comprehension Conversation scoring rubric, which differs from the expectations found in previous editions. Using observational and formative data from such assessments can help teachers form guided-reading or strategy groups based on students’ needs. Hyrich and Janzen reminded us that teachers often need a few reading assessments to discover the full range of a student’s instructional reading level. A helpful tip was to also consider students’ spelling stages from Words Their Way (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton & Johnston; Pearson, 2019) when designing and refining reading groups.
The two-hour session flew by, and we left with many ideas to take back to our classrooms. Other highlights were the many contributions from the enthusiastic audience, which included classroom teachers, resource teachers, clinicians, and school leaders from K-8. RCGW also received a number of topic suggestions for future Pizza & PD, such as a closer look at phonological awareness and basic literacy skills.
RCGW extends special thanks to The Manitoba Teachers’ Society for providing the meeting space and to the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Awards for providing each participant with a free book.
WRITTEN BY BRITTANY BELL, I LOVE TO READ COMMITTEE CHAIR
“I Love to Read Month” is a month long celebration that is held each year to encourage reading, writing, and sharing in the joy of literacy. This year’s theme is “Books for a Better World." This theme encourages readers to start taking steps towards creating a better world for everyone.
On behalf of the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg, I have prepared an idea calendar. The RCGW is a group of dedicated educators who meet monthly to share and work to promote knowledge and awareness of lifelong literacy and learning. Please share the idea calendar with teachers, students and their families. It would make a great addition to your school newsletter. Activities are included for students of all ages to have them explore different ways of engaging with literacy. I hope that both teachers and students will have fun with the suggested activities and that they will challenge the students to learn something new. I also hope that families will be able to share the excitement of reading and writing together.
In addition to the idea calendar, the RCGW will be making a book and monetary donation to the Cancer Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital, so that the staff can continue to update their children’s and teen’s libraries and magazine subscriptions. This provides children, teens, as well as parents with reading materials that are appealing and entertaining, as well as supportive.
The RCGW thanks you for sharing this idea calendar with teachers and families. In doing this, you are helping to empower our students to change the world.
Current Trends in Literacy Assessment and Instruction: Effective Reading Assessment and Dynamic Guided Reading Instruction (Grades 1-8)
Presented by Theresa Hyrich, M.Ed. and Sandra Janzen, M.Ed.
Thursday, February 6, 2020 – MTS McMaster House (191 Harcourt Street)
Theresa Hyrich, M.Ed., was a classroom teacher for over 18 years and taught kindergarten to Grade 5 classes. She also had roles as a Reading Recovery teacher, resource teacher, multi-age teacher and a literacy support teacher before becoming a certified reading clinician with Clinical Support Services in the Winnipeg School Division. She has been employed in many school divisions throughout the province, including Lord Selkirk School Division, Sunrise School Division, Seven Oaks School Division and began her career in the Transcona Springfield School Division.
Sandra Janzen, M.Ed., is a certified reading clinician working with Clinical Support Services in the Winnipeg School Division. Prior to becoming a reading clinician, Sandra had over 22 years of classroom experience, teaching Grades 1-9 in Louis Riel School Division and at a private school in Winnipeg.
RCGW Member Price: $20.00
RCGW Non-Member Price: $25.00
With the holidays just around the corner, teachers and parents often find themselves searching for the latest and greatest titles in children's literature. Luckily, December means review website publish their Best of the Year lists – a great help for making decisions about which books to purchase as gifts or to add to a classroom library.
Kirkus Reviews, for instance, offers a list of middle grade, picture books, and young adult titles. (As an added bonus, the Kirkus Reviews make for excellent mentor texts when teaching students to write book reviews or analyses.) School Library Journal's Best Books 2019 lists break down the categories even further, including picture books, transitional chapter books, middle grade, young adult, non-fiction, and graphic novels. They have even assembled all their lists into a downloadable, printable 15-page handout, perfect for last-minute inclusion in a winter-break email or newsletter. (Don't forget about the value of audiobooks, often overlooked. For some readers, audiobooks are the great equalizer, allowing them to access text that might otherwise be out of reach.)
As wonderful as Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal are, we can't forget about supporting our Canadian authors. We recommend checking out the Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Awards book lists for younger readers and older readers and the Canadian Children's Book Centre's 2019 CCBC Gift Guide for the best Canadian titles of the year.
Finally, why not support our local independent bookseller McNally Robinson when making your purchases? At RCGW, we are always reminded of Donalyn Miller's amazed reaction to the bookstore – to this day, she talks about its beauty and all it has to offer. We know our holiday plans include spending lots of time at this local gem.
The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg's Board of Directors wishes you a restful holiday season, filled with books, love, and celebration. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
We look forward to spending MTS PD Day 2019 – October 25, 2019 – with over 300 teachers for Lori Oczkus's session: "The Powerful Reading Vitamin: Boosting Comprehension with The Fab Four."
Limited walk-up registrations are available.
Celebrations at Canad Inns Destination Centre Fort Garry
1824 Pembina Hwy | Winnipeg, Manitoba
Free parking available on site, but we are expecting over 300 teachers. We encourage carpooling and arriving early! LUNCH IS NOT INCLUDED. There are many restaurants in the area. Morning and afternoon snacks are included.
Editor’s Note: RCGW extends thanks to Manitoba Education and Training ELA Consultant Angela Burdett for her assistance in answering our many questions.
Since 2017, Manitoba Education and Training (MET) has been implementing the new ELA Curriculum Framework through a phased-in model. Across the province, many school teams and groups of teachers have gathered to discuss and explore their practice through the new curriculum framework. We at RCGW continue to field questions from teachers in the field, so we reached out to MET for some updates.
Last month, in Off to a Great Start, we recommended teachers read the Manitoba English Language Arts Curriculum Framework – April 2019 Draft. (Read it online at Maple today!) Teachers can inquire and explore the many avenues for digging deep into language and inquiry under the new framework. We are pleased to hear that MET expects to have the latest iteration of the Curriculum Framework and the new Maple group, "The ELA Place," available later this fall.
The revised framework will be shared as "A Living Document" rather than a "Draft" to better reflect the emergent nature of the curriculum. MET is in the process of redesigning and renaming the current Maple group "Reflecting on and Moving Forward With the New ELA Curriculum" to "The ELA Place." The new group will be a more interactive space where educators can explore the framework and wraparound supports from multiple entry points. It will evolve over time as teachers shift practice and become more familiar with the new framework and as MET receives feedback from teachers in the field. If you’re already a member of the current group, you’re all set – you won’t need to join anything new. You will receive an invitation from Maple to join the new group and you simply follow the directions provided.
One exciting part of The ELA Place is the Stories of Practice. This is where educators can go to see the stories of Manitoba teachers enacting the practices and living out this curriculum in their classrooms. In the future, MET hopes to include many "stories of practice" that represent all grade bands and many contexts. If you’ve begun to implement the new curriculum, we at RCGW and MET would love to hear your stories. Get in touch with us!
Finally, RCGW offers its congratulations to former MET ELA and Literacy Consultant Shelley Warkentin, who moved to Seven Oaks School Division earlier this year. We also welcome the new Senior Years ELA and Literacy Consultant Vicky McMahon to her position at MET. We look forward to continuing our longstanding collaboration with MET and to bringing you, our members, the latest information to support your teaching.
The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg is excited to announce that past president and long-time board member Cathy-Ann Winters has been appointed as the International Literacy Association (ILA) Provincial Coordinator for Manitoba!
Cathy-Ann has been a long standing member of the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg, the Manitoba Reading Association and the International Literacy Association. She has served on the RCGW board as the MYRCA Representative, President Elect, President, Past President and Journal Editor. Cathy-Ann is a Vice Principal at Dakota Collegiate Institute in the Louis Riel School Division and has recently become a Reading Apprenticeship facilitator, supporting literacy instruction across Manitoba. Cathy-Ann is dedicated to inspiring cultures of collaboration, learning focused relationships and personalized learning. She has been a Classroom Teacher, a Student Services Teacher, a Literacy Itinerant Teacher and an Instructional Support Teacher. Cathy-Ann received her Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Manitoba where her learning focused on instructional leadership and effective school planning.
RCGW's Board of Directors welcomes Cathy-Ann into her new role and looks forward to working closely together over her term.
Annual General Meeting: Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at 4:30 PM on Zoom.
All other RCGW events are postponed at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We welcome book reviews, articles about teaching strategies, and other submissions. Please contact the Editor.