Explorations: Leadership in Literacy

Title: Explorations: Leadership in Literacy
…what every administrator needs to know to help all learners and teachers be successful in literacy.
2 graduate credits: Saint Michael’s College
Dates:  October 5, 2022 –  December 7, 2022
Contact Hours: 5+ modules,  40+ online hours
Intended audience: School Leaders grades k-6
Instructor of Record:  Ellen A. Thompson, Ed. D.
Location: Online, asynchronous
Cost: $1275 with 2 credits / $750 without credit
Registration Deadline: September 28th

Course Description: This learning exploration is designed to take a broad look at literacy instruction across an elementary school or set grade levels. We will explore the types of experiences all children need if they are to be successful in their literacy achievement. Time will be spent visiting quality classrooms through videos and reading. We will take note of what the learning environment looks like and sounds like. We will dig into the evidence of learning through the lenses of both joy and rigor.

School-level leaders will come away from this course with a better understanding of what to look for within the literacy instruction of individual classrooms and across multiple grade levels. A focus of the work will be to get to better understand the attributes of schools that are successful in strong literacy attainment goals.:

  • Systemic Supports
  • Opportunities to Read
  • Teacher Expertise
  • Assessment practices
  • Responsive School Community

All participants will use a cloud-hosted Learning Management System to gain new content information, contribute to large group and strand discussions, hand in and share assignments, and discuss readings, slide shows, & videos.


Learning Objectives: As a result of active participation in this course, students will:

  1. Consider the multiple areas that define a successful school literacy program
  2. Understand the basics of quality literacy instruction using a best practices approach
  3. Explore the organization of the literacy block, in ways that better support all learners.
  4. Understand the varying types of literacy assessments and their uses in a literacy classroom.
  5. Explore the use of assessment data within collaborative structures in the school.
  6. Engage in dialogue concerning current reading/writing practices using the CCSS, ELA
  7. Understand the multiple grouping strategies that allow teachers to provide the most responsive instruction for all students.
  8. Apply new learning to your school environment by using instructional walkthroughs using literacy “look fors”

Required Readings:

  • International Literacy Association:  position papers:
    • Ila-creating-passionate-readers-through-independent-reading
    • Ila-power-promise-read-alouds-independent-reading
    • Ila-beyond-the-numbers
  • English-Language Arts Common Core State Standards (ELA CCSS)

Class Design:

This is an online class. It is important that all course participants make good use of the discussion forums. Increased understanding will be generated through the connection between the assigned readings/tasks and your ability to tease out important information for each other and yourself.  The instructor will read and monitor the discussions to highlight important points and to turn conversations in new and deeper directions.

Introductory Module (1) (6 points)
This module will help you get acquainted with your classmates while learning how to navigate the learning management system.

Learning Modules 1-4 (15 points each)
This course is designed around a learning module construct. Each module requires reading, analysis and synthesis of new information, with a responsibility to add to and respond to others. Modules are “released” one at a time. The facilitator will add comment and clarification during the reading discussion.

Each module may contain 1 or more of the following:

  • Read  & Respond Discussion: Participants are asked to respond to required reading and selected readings within each module. Pick a part of the reading that changes or strengthens your thinking. Do not summarize. Respond with enough information to let others know what you are responding to – then give your thoughts on the section. Pose a question or concern for others to respond to, if you can. Be prepared to strengthen or expand your stance. Do respond to at least 2-4 other posts with substantive commentary on each required reading assignment.
  • Listen & Respond: Participants will listen and watch a topical slide deck narrated by Ellen Thompson. Often there will be more slides that show examples of classroom use. Participants are expected to respond to the presentation as well as  the postings of others.
  • Watch & Respond: Videos have been selected that complement the content learning of the module. Participants are expected to respond to the video as well as  to 2-4 postings of others
  • Walk-thrus & Respond: Prompts are given in most modules that allow the participants to observe for their new understandings within classrooms.
  • Each module is meant to be completed within a 10-12 day window of time.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE:  The modules depend on each of you responding in an informative and timely manner to your “Read &; Listen &; Watch &; Respond” reflections.

Collegial Collaboration: (20 points)
Within each Learning Module, forums will be used to enhance and extend our collective knowledge. It is expected that each participant will respond substantively to each reading discussion and assigned learning task (3-4 responses per assignment). I understand that you may want to respond to more in one discussion and less in another. I am looking for ongoing collaboration throughout the course.

Wrapping Up: Next Steps for You (1) (16 points)
Participants will consider the readings and discussions to design a literacy sustainability action plan that will keep the learning going! Participants will choose an area for further study and/or create an actionable timeline for putting this new learning into action.

Online Course Contact Hours: 

Each module may require reading, viewing, or observing literacy information. Participants will analyze and synthesize new information, with a responsibility to add to and respond to others.

Introductory Module (1)

  • Contact Hours: 3

Modules (4)

  • Contact Hours per module: 5
  • Overall contact hours: 30

The Finale: Wrapping Up Next Steps for You (1)

  • Contact hours: 3

Total Contact Hours: 42+ hours