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Most Valuable Points

Originally published on October 26, 2017

Happy Thursday!

Earlier this month I attended the Scholastic Literacy Summit in Dallas. It was unbelievable! Whenever I attend a conference or training, I feel that there are three very important responsibilities for anyone attending training.

  1. The first is that the person who attends has the responsibility to learn on the behalf of those who cannot attend (which is just another way of saying that the person who attends should take good notes).

  2. The second is that the person who attends has the responsibility to reflect on the learning and connect what is new to what was known.

  3. The final responsibility is to share the learning with others.

With regard to the first responsibility, I took 21 pages of notes during the numerous sessions. All of the sessions were good, at worst, and most were great! This is where the second responsibility kicks in—reflection. There are a lot of notes to sift through because no one is interested in me photocopying my notes and just sharing what I wrote. So, here are some of those highlights so that I can fulfill my final responsibility.


Opener: Dan Gohl, CAO Brower County Public Schools, FL

  • Did you know that the students graduating this year are the last students who were born before the year 2000?!

  • Shifting from reading to learn and learning to read doesn’t stop in the 3rd grade, it’s a continuous process.

  • Teachers need to spend time building relationships with students as readers, in addition, to assign students as readers.

  • Teachers spend too much time in isolation that erodes the culture of collective action of teaching and learning

  • Reading is the fusion of the reader and the author.

  • If we are educators, then we must be learners…we must be students of our students and their families.


Powerful Partnerships: Dr. Karen Mapp

  • Our school events should have two features—(1) families should leave knowing more about what students should know and be able to do and (2) families should leave knowing how (through explicit practice) to employ a new tool or activity at home to support those goals.

  • Family engagement is a part of proficient teaching and learning practice.

  • When a teacher says s/he doesn’t have time to reach out to families ask, “Is that your expectation for your child’s teacher?”

  • Don’t make the first contact home about bad news…this means that the relationship won’t happen at all OR it is starting on the wrong foot.


From Best Practices to Next Practices: Teaching for Transfer: Dr. Adria Klein

  • When asking questions of students, rather than probing the answer, probe the thinking the child used to come to an answer.

  • The purpose of school is not to do well in school—it’s to apply the learning to your real life…this is true transfer and this is how we should be designing our learning opportunities.

  • For transfer, it’s not just You Do, I Watch you do it in school…it’s You Do it by yourself in the real world and this is the difference between applying knowledge and creating it.

  • In teaching standards in ELA, the text is a tool. Thus, we need to ask ourselves, what small part of the text is enough to show the pattern that will be enough so the thinnest slice will show the largest learning?


Disruptive Thinking: Why How We Read Matters: Kylene Beers and Robert Probst

  • Too many kids have substituted “finishing” the text with reading the text so we need to focus on these questions:

  • What surprised me as I was reading?

  • What did the author think I already knew?

  • What changed, challenged, or confirmed what I knew?

  • Reading a text is not about extracting information, it’s about transacting information and it requires getting personal

  • When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

  • Helping a kid choose a book starts with “what do you like” not “what is your level?”

  • You cannot improve competence unless you start with confidence.


From Striving to Thriving: Stephanie Harvey

  • If students have the chance to read texts they want to read, they will become readers who can read things they don’t particularly want to read

  • Volume of Reading=Access + Choice + Time

  • All readers thrive with voluminous engaged reading, but our most vulnerable readers require it.

  • It’s not your fault if you weren’t well trained in teaching reading but it is your responsibility to get better.

  • Don’t level the playing field, tip it towards the underdogs.

  • It’s not about reading abilities, it’s about reading behaviors.


Building a Long-Term Systemic Approach to Literacy: Cindy Puryear

  • Time to read must far exceed time for activities about reading and writing and other stuff.

  • The scores will take care of themselves if students are reading and becoming readers.

  • For those who are concerned about sending books home with students because the books may “grow legs,” say, “I would much rather lose a book than lose a reader.”


Literacy Imperative and the Alignment of Instructional Knowledge, Language, and Tools: Dr. Donyall Dickey

  • If students don’t read grade-level texts in school, when will they?


The Core of Engaged, Meaningful Reading: Words and Knowledge: Dr.

  • There’s a .94 correlation between background knowledge and comprehension.

  • Students need a chance to become experts in some things and to know a little about a lot of things.


Using Data to Transform Family Engagement Practices: Suzanne Mitchell

  • There is a linear sequence to creating effective family-school partnerships:

  • Welcoming

  • Communication

  • Information

  • Participation

  • If the teachers don’t believe that the parents have capacity, it’s a slippery slope to not believing that the students have capacity.

  • Some things are better caught (through observing) then taught (through explicit instruction/expectation)

  • One of the things we don’t do enough of in education is to celebrate progress.


Now it's your responsibility to do one of the following:

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