Building Teacher Content Knowledge in Reading and Literacy

Strong reading and literacy skills are critical to success in school and life. We provide professional development, technical assistance, and resources to assist educators in strengthening literacy support at all levels, from designing statewide literacy programs, to incorporating reading strategies across content areas, to engaging parents in helping their children learn to read. In addition, our research and evaluation team conducts studies of reading programs to measure their effectiveness and expand our knowledge of how best to teach this core subject.

Services We Provide

Our Center for High-Performing Schools offers a range of professional development and consulting services to educators, schools, and districts to improve teaching and learning in reading and literacy for early childhood, elementary, and secondary settings.

Featured Work

“A lot of times, the decision as to which program to
adopt is based on the skill of the [textbook company’s] presenter. . . . [With research], you have some sort of ability to sort through the data and find out what works and what doesn’t.” — Gary Jones, Superintendent, Rapides Parish School District, Louisiana

Advancing Knowledge in
Teaching Reading

Adopting a core reading curriculum is a high-stakes decision. School districts need to know they are investing tight funds in programs that work. SEDL is conducting two randomized controlled trials, the gold standard in research, to provide rigorous evidence of the effectiveness of two reading programs—a core curriculum for elementary school students and a supplemental curriculum for adolescents reading below grade level. The results will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the programs as well as reliable evidence to guide education leaders' decisions. Read more

Significant Work

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC): The SECC provides professional development and technical assistance to the state education agencies of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals, including achievement in reading and literacy. Work varies by state.

Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC): The TXCC provides professional development and technical assistance to the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals, including achievement in reading and literacy.

Center for High-Performing Schools: Through this Center, SEDL builds the capacity of district and school leaders and educators to improve teaching and align curriculum, instruction, and assessment to national and state standards.

  • Georgetown County School District: In South Carolina, SEDL is providing professional development and technical assistance on content-area literacy strategies at two high schools to boost student achievement. The work involves developing professional learning communi­ties and aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to standards.
  • New Mexico Reads to Lead Grant: In New Mexico, SEDL is building the capacity of K–3 administrators and teacher leaders to serve as reading and instructional coaches. The work involves providing training and modeling in using content-area literacy strategies.
  • Pecos Valley Regional Education Cooperative: In New Mexico, SEDL is providing support to districts in the Pecos Valley Regional Education Cooperative in implementing the Common Core State Standards for English-language arts and math. The work involves developing professional learning communi­ties and aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to standards.

SRA Imagine It! Today's Open Court Randomized Controlled Trial: SEDL and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are conducting a national, large-scale randomized controlled trial assessing the effectiveness of SRA Imagine It! Today's Open Court, an elementary school reading program. The study, which will involve more than 40 schools across multiple districts, uses a multisite cluster randomized trial design to examine whether the program affects achievement outcomes for K–5 students over 2 school years and whether those outcomes vary significantly across students, schools, and districts.

Show More Work

Resources

Image of publication cover Cognitive Foundations of Learning to Read: A Framework
This book provides a concise summary of the research findings related to how children learn to read. A graphical representation of the framework is provided to familiarize teachers with the cognitive elements that research has shown to be essential in learning to read.
Image of publication cover Reading Assessment Database for Grades PreK–3
This database, a complementary tool to the Cognitive Foundations of Learning to Read: A Framework, enables reading teachers to search for preK–3 reading assessments that test the framework's 14 reading skills.
Image of publication cover Literacy Profile Folder (quantity 10)
This portfolio system helps teachers track individual student data in the areas outlined in Cognitive Foundations of Learning to Read: A Framework.
Literacy Profile Folder: How to Use the Literacy Profile
This brief guide demonstrates how to use the Literacy Profile Folder effectively in the classroom.
Image of publication cover Literacy in Afterschool: An Instructor's Guide to the Afterschool Training Toolkit

The six promising practices in student achievement in literacy identified in the Afterschool Training Toolkit are as follows: Book Discussion Groups and Literature Circles; Read Aloud; Story and Literature Dramatizations; Writing; Family Literacy Events; One-on-One and Small-Group Tutoring. When used with the Afterschool Training Toolkit, the lessons in this instructor’s guide will help you master these promising practices. Once you become proficient at these practices, you should be able to use them to develop other literacy lessons.

Image of publication cover Literacy in Afterschool: An Instructor's Guide to Read Alouds with the Afterschool Training Toolkit

The National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning developed this instructor’s guide to accompany its Afterschool Training Toolkit, a free online staff development tool. Both the guide and the toolkit materials are designed to give afterschool instructors the resources they need to build fun, innovative, and academically enriching activities that not only engage students, but extend their knowledge in new ways and increase academic achievement. For afterschool instructors, this guide offers the opportunity to enhance your teaching skills in literacy by seeing read alouds modeled and getting a chance to try them out in your classroom. Site directors and afterschool training coordinators can use this guide in combination with the toolkit to plan staff development in literacy instruction and create tailored training highlighting the best practices most appropriate to your sites.

Image of publication cover Literacy in Afterschool: A Guide to Using the Afterschool Training Toolkit for Professional Development
The six promising practices in afterschool for literacy identified in the Afterschool Training Toolkit are as follows: Book Discussion Groups and Literature Circles; Read Aloud; Story and Literature Dramatizations; Writing; Family Literacy Events; One-on-One and Small Group Tutoring. Each practice is built on youth development principles and research on effective literacy instruction. At their core, Afterschool Training Toolkit materials are designed to illustrate techniques and activities that leverage student curiosity to make literacy in afterschool both enjoyable and relevant. This guide provides professional development ideas for each of these practices.
Image of publication cover SEDL Letter, Volume XIX, Number 2 (Oct. 2007): Reading: Practices to Help Improve Instruction
This issue of SEDL Letter examines ways to strengthen literacy through father-child interactions and systemic approaches, including Response to Intervention and school improvement.
Image of publication cover SEDL Letter, Volume XVII, Number 1: Reaching Our Reading Goals
This issue of SEDL Letter is devoted to topics related to reading instruction, including the role of literacy coaches, how to motivate readers, and instruction to improve comprehension.
Image of publication cover SEDL Letter, Volume XIV, Number 3 (Dec. 2002): Putting Reading First
This issue of SEDL Letter focuses on early reading instruction and assessment, including topics such as reading and migrant students and the importance of phonemic awareness.
Image of publication cover Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin, Volume 5, Number 1: Strengthening Literacy Programs and Instruction
This issue of the Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin focuses on literacy, specifically on how states can strengthen their literacy programs or plans and provide effective professional development and technical assistance for high-need districts in their efforts to implement quality literacy instruction.
Image of publication cover Reading First Notebook: The Newsletter for the Reading First Program
The Reading First Notebook was published on a quarterly basis from 2004 to 2006, and is now available online for download in pdf format. The newsletter provided thematic issues covering topics such as assessment, professional development, and instruction for special population students.

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