Literacy Leadership is Needed in Vermont

Blogpost by: Ellen A Thompson – PLL Literacy Consultant

There is a buzz in the air concerning teaching literacy in schools.  Everyone has an opinion.  Everyone knows the correct way to proceed.  Everyone is listening to everyone.  

We need strong literacy leadership in our Vermont schools.  Leadership that can make sense out of the noise that is filling our airwaves.  Teaching literacy well is a complex task.  This task is even more complicated, given that our student learners are unique individuals with differing needs.  One-size teaching does not fit all learners’ needs.
Literacy instruction centers around how we teach and what we teach to create strong readers and writers with agency. This importance of student agency cannot be stated too strongly.  Agency moves reading and writing instruction out of a rote, skill-based venture into a thinking, relevant, and actionable one. There is a real need for Literacy Leadership in Vermont schools.

  • Literacy Leadership demands that we understand deeply what is most important for our learners to be successful.  Just knowing is not enough; a good Literacy Leader understands the power of collaboration.  Teachers observe one another, planning together and analyzing what is working and what needs tweaks.  
  • A Literacy Leader knows that the field of reading is ever-growing; it is not settled science. Ongoing professional learning through book study, coaching, coursework, and more is needed over time in a continuous environment for improvement. 
  • A Literacy Leader uses assessment information to promote further learning and teaching.  Assessment data is not just a number; it gives the leader and teachers a snapshot of what is working well and what needs improvement.  Assessment data provides a neutral platform for discussing the next steps for instruction.  
  • A Literacy Leader can look across classrooms to make suggestions that the whole school environment can use to develop collective efficacy within a school setting.   These Leaders know that it takes a village to make continuous improvement.  Literacy Leaders have the skills to engage in dialogue, present information, and interact with other Educational Leaders. 
  • These Leaders know that it takes a village to make continuous improvement.  Literacy Leaders have the skills to engage in dialogue, present information, and interact with other Educational Leaders. 
  • Literacy Leaders are agents of change. 

Vermont needs our Literacy Leadership voices now more than ever.  Educators need to gather, discuss, learn, and grow from and with great teachers of literacy who know their content and are not afraid to share it!  The challenge is on.  How do we outpace our current literacy leadership with vibrant and current literacy educators?  We all can play a role.

  1. Step up.  
  2. Join a literacy organization like the Vermont Council on Literacy
  3. Offer a workshop in your school or district.
  4. Join school/district curriculum/language arts committees.
  5. Send in a proposal form for the PLL Vermont Literacy Conference.
  6. Become a member of the International Literacy Association.
  7. Take on coaching roles within your school.
  8. Create time for our voices to be heard.

We all want the very best for Vermont’s children.  Teachers learning from each other will help us do this.  Keeping literacy instruction current, vibrant, and meaningful is most important in today’s world.

For information on the Vermont Council on Literacy (VCL), please visit the VCL WebsiteVCL is an all-volunteer organization.  We support Vermont educators through professional learning to provide quality literacy instruction for all learners. VCL is always looking for new Board members.  You can apply at this link:

For information on the PLL Vermont Literacy Conference, please visit the PLL website.  Planning for the PLL Vermont Literacy Conference 2024 has already begun.

The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a professional organization with a mission of continuously connecting research and practice to improve the quality of literacy instruction across the globe. More Information