Friday, November 6, 2015

Creating a Literate Environment

This summer a couple of the staff in our district attended a training by Emily Calhoun on creating a Literate Environment.

Through their training, they learned about the different elements in creating a literate environment. Our current building professional development time is focused on understanding and implementing these 6 components of a literate environment in our classrooms and throughout the school:
  • Create a text-rich environment
  • Do daily read aloud
  • Ensure lots of time to read
  • Make knowledge building a priority
  • Integrate writing with reading instruction
  • Conversation is important

As the teacher librarian, I am very excited about this concept and the ways I can be involved.  While we are only three months in with our professional development learning, I have found many ways to support teachers in creating a literate environment.

  1. Locating text resources- As a librarian, where to go to find high quality is second nature to me. I can probably find high quality texts in any AEA resource in my sleep, but some teachers are not as familiar with these resources as I might be. I need to continue to collaborate and work with teachers to show where to look as well as how to use different resources effectively and efficiently.
  2. Ensuring time to read- As the librarian, we need to advocate for our students and encourage them to read. Our building is looking at how we are going to use our homeroom time for allowing everybody to read. I am very excited about this. However, I also need to reinforce that reading may not always be a book - it also can be a magazine, comic book, or other resource. Many of our students (like us) may read on a device. Instead of insisting that students read a “print” book we need to encourage their reading in whatever format it may be.
  3. Creating a text-rich environments- while part of this is about access to reading materials for students, it also includes other text that students see and interact with. For example, posters or word walls are part of a text-rich environment. While these can be very powerful tools, it also is important to note that just having them up in a classroom does not make it a text rich environment. They must be used and support learning in the classroom to be effective.
I am excited to continue to learn about creating a literate environment and to continue to find ways to help others create this environment as well.

How do you contribute to a Literate Environment in your school?