PLL offers a variety of literacy courses that address foundational literacy information, current topics in research and practice, and literacy coaching to name a few.  We also can tailor courses to meet the needs of districts or schools. Our courses rotate throughout the year.  To keep informed of what our offerings are, visit our website often or sign up for our email updates.

SUMMER 2021

Course Title: Reading Instruction: A Vital Balancing Act, K-8
Saint Michael’s College Credits: 3
Dates: July 12 – August 25, 2021
Contact Hours: 60+ online hours
Intended audience: teachers of grades K-8
Instructor:  Ellen A. Thompson, Ed. D.

This online course will allow participants to understand more completely the vital components of a comprehensive balanced literacy approach for the teaching of reading. The use of an intentional design, purposeful learning materials, evidenced based reading instruction, along with the strategic groupings of students based on data combine to create powerful learning for all students.  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, etc.

This course will help bring sensibility to all that is needed in our literacy instruction to encourage and produce readers who really are engaged in their reading.  As teachers we balance what is needed to make each reader successful.  Using the text, This is Balanced Literacy, K-6, written by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Nancy Akhavian, we will begin to develop the high impact learning experiences needed to push our readers into that deep thinking mode.  The text will provide much knowledge on how to increase student understanding and use of voice without eliminating the joy that real reading can bring. 

Goals:

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

  1. Consider and discuss the merits and facets of a comprehensive balanced literacy approach.
  2. Explore and learn more about evidenced-based reading instruction.
  3. Reflect and discuss the role of the literacy components within a balanced literacy approach.
  4. Consider the implications this work has on classroom practice to map out a strategic plan for classroom-based applications.
  5. Develop a deep understanding of how the literacy strands within the ELA CCSS interact and support this type of reading instruction.
  6. Collaborate and reflect with colleagues to develop a community of learners to support  current reading/writing policies and practices.
  7. Use the understanding of a balanced literacy approach to create a meaningful unit of study, investigation, and/or research best practice to promote deeper student understandings for reading instruction.
  • Required Readings:
    This is Balanced Literacy, K-6, written by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Nancy Akhavian
    ELA Common Core State Standards
    Articles/visual media: supplied by instructor

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. 

REGISTER

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Rolling: Open Enrollment Course

Explorations in Literacy Instruction
…what every teacher needs to know to help all learners be successful.

3 graduate credits: Saint Michael’s College
Rolling Open Enrollment
Contact Hours: 7 modules,  50+ online hours
Intended audience: teachers of grades K-8
Instructor of Record:  Ellen A. Thompson, Ed. D.

Contact PLL for information and/or to enroll in this Explorations in Literacy Course – info@pllvt.org

Course Description:  This learning exploration is designed to reawaken what we know to be best practices for the teaching of literacy.  It will uncover the critical components needed for a comprehensive and balanced literacy approach. Of great importance will be the discussion of the multiple types of small group instruction, their various purposes and uses within the classroom instructional plan. Participants will also look at how these components are organized in a real classroom with real learners on a daily basis. It is critical that these best practices are connected within a relevant and purposeful instructional stance.  What our students read and write matters.  How much they read and write matters.  What they do with what they read and write matters!

As teachers are experiencing literacy instruction in new and differing ways this year, much discussion will be on creating both face-to-face as well as hybrid teaching experiences for our learners.

This fully online course will allow participants to understand more completely what the expectations are for their teaching of literacy within the context English-Language Arts Common Core State Standards (ELA CCSS).  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. Explore deeply reading instruction for elementary/middle level students.
  2. Understand the importance the literacy components have on assuring our students read well.
  3. Explore the organization of the literacy block, in ways that better support all learners.
  4. Reflect and discuss in ways that disrupt our own thinking, challenging us to grow as teachers.
  5. Consider the implications this work has on classroom practice to map out a strategic plan for classroom-based applications.
  6. Research the multiple grouping strategies that allow teachers to provide the most responsive instruction for all students.
  7. Collaborate with colleagues to develop a community of learners to support this new learning
  8. Reflect and discuss the many issues related to the teaching of reading/writing/assessment/CCSS shifts.
  9. Engage in dialogue concerning current reading/writing policies and practices

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Participants will understand the components of comprehensive literacy instruction, beginning with the content and moving into instructional practices
  2. Participants will explore the big ideas of literacy instruction with other colleagues adding to their deeper understandings
  3. Participants will understand the differences within small group instruction to maximize both student learning and engagement.
  4. Participants will explore digital technologies to incorporate into their teaching that support reading that matters instruction

 

Ellen A. Thompson has been an educator for over 43 years.  She taught as a classroom teacher in Vermont for over twenty years with many of those years in a multiage setting teaching children aged 6-9 years of age. Ellen was named the Vermont State Teacher of the Year in 1993 and she achieved her National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist in 1999. Ellen began consulting nationally in 1993 and has continued this work throughout her years as an educator.  Upon leaving the classroom, Ellen joined the Elementary Education literacy faculty at the University of Vermont in 2000.  At the University, she taught undergraduate literacy courses, supervised student teachers and also worked as a literacy consultant in two large scale literacy research projects which spanned the grades K-6. For twelve years Ellen worked with the Essex Town School District as the Director of Instruction and Information Services.  During this time, Ellen completed her doctoral studies in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont in the fall of 2007.  After the merging of the Essex Town School District and the Chittenden Central Supervisory Union, Ellen continued working with educators in the newly created Essex Westford School District as the Director of Learning Design.  Ellen is currently a literacy consultant for Partnerships in Literacy and Learning.