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Taking the Lead on Adolescent Literacy Action Steps for Schoolwide Success by Judith L. Irvin

Taking the Lead on Adolescent Literacy Action Steps for Schoolwide Success


Taking the Lead on Adolescent Literacy Action Steps for Schoolwide Success by Judith L. Irvin

Directly linked with overall student achievement, graduation rates, and success in higher education, literacy is essential for reaching academic goals in a school or county. Adolescent literacy has become the focus of many school improvement efforts to meet the needs of secondary and high school students. Without the requisite expertise in literacy, administrators and other school leaders charged with literacy improvement initiatives need a systemic and sustained approach for improving student literacy and learning. Taking the Lead on Adolescent Literacy presents a concrete, user-friendly, and practical guide to developing, implementing, and monitoring a schoolwide or county-wide literacy action plan. Readers will find rubrics, tools, and processes developed and field-tested by the authors over more than 10 years of close work with schools across the country.


As educators living in this world of high-stakes accountability, we need a way to focus our activities to be sure that our hard work is well spent. The literacy action planning process developed by Irvin and her colleagues has helped several schools in our district realistically assess their strengths and opportunities for improvement and develop concrete action plans for schoolwide literacy improvement. -- Connie Kolosey, Supervisor of Secondary Reading The five-stage literacy leadership process in the book provided my principals and teachers with an easy-to-follow, researched-based guide to develop a successful literacy program within their schools. -- Jerryelyn L. Jones, Chief Area Officer In each chapter I found honest descriptions of the tough issues faced by schools trying to focus on literacy across the content areas. More important, the chapters are full of guidelines and practical suggestions for dealing with those challenges. The implementation maps and the rubrics that help school literacy teams diagnose issues, establish goals, monitor implementation, and sustain changes are particularly valuable resources. The authors know that change requires a systems approach with all levels of school and community involved over an extended timeframe. I heartily recommend this as a very useful tool for schools wanting to implement a schoolwide commitment to literacy. -- Donna Ogle, Professor of Reading and Language The most beneficial aspect of the literacy action planning process was providing training and asking for input from teachers from the very beginning. Literacy support team members were able to reflect on the unique and specific strengths and needs of their buildings and utilize this information to develop a practical implementation plan. The time spent working together on the literacy action plan helped build community and foster a sense of ownership in the change process. -- Lisa White, District ELA Coordinator I have seen numerous educational initiatives come and go in my forty-some years working with schools, but nothing has been as important, relevant, or long lasting as adolescent literacy. Schools that have principals and teachers who have stayed the course with embedded literacy strategies across the curriculum, that focus on literacy rich culture and structures in their buildings, that have students using literacy strategies on their own, and that have staff and students reading and sharing, are the schools that make significant gains in their educational achievement. -- Betty A. Jordan, Director This literacy project changed the culture and focus of our school in less than a year. Following the process outlined in this book allowed our literacy team to personalize the project to our school and needs. Our team presented our project to our staff in August and our teachers have implemented it faithfully. Our students know the slogan and are excited about the project. The literacy team has kept the excitement high for the year. -- Trip Sargent, Principal The Literacy Project is a systemic process that guarantees all students access to superior instructional strategies. -- Kathleen P. Norton, Principal This rich resource walks middle and high school literacy leaders through a comprehensive process for conceptualizing, initiating, and, most important, sustaining a schoolwide literacy learning program. The authors clearly know teachers and schools, and their reality-tested tools will prove invaluable in guiding and supporting middle and high school literacy leaders. -- Doug Buehl, Author, Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning Wow! This book gives school and district leaders and teams the what, why, and how to do the rocket science work of getting every student to read and write at grade level or above. Principals and literacy teams no longer need to be stuck in the 'We don't know what to do next
world of frustration.

-- Bess Scott, Director of Elementary Education The connections regarding best practice research from multiple fields-differentiation, professional development, curriculum mapping, 21st-century literacy, assessment, and instructional strategies-are critical and very well done. These connections are made in a professional, understandable way with theories and classroom applications articulated across grade levels and in many formats: scoring guides, prose, questions, vignettes, case studies, and graphics. -- Darlene Castelli, Literacy Coach/Reading Specialist

About the Author

Judith Irvin is a professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, and the executive director of the National Literacy Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving middle and high school literacy. Her repertoire includes chairing the research committee for the National Middle School Association for six years and serving on the Commission on Adolescent Literacy of the International Reading Association. She has written and edited numerous books, chapters, and articles on adolescent literacy-most notably Reading and the High School Student: Strategies to Enhance Literacy (with Douglas Buehl and Ronald Klemp, 2007), Strategies for Enhancing Literacy and Learning in Middle School Content Area Classrooms (with Douglas Buehl and Barbara Radcliffe, 2007), and Teaching Middle School Reading (with James Rycik, 2005). Judith recently completed two books as a result of a project funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York: Taking Action on Adolescent Literacy: An Implementation Guide for School Leaders (with Julie Meltzer and Melinda Dukes, ASCD, 2007) and Meeting the Challenge of Adolescent Literacy: Practical Ideas for Literacy Leaders (with Julie Meltzer, Martha Jan Mickler, Melvina Phillips, and Nancy Dean, 2009). She is a speaker and consultant to school systems and professional organizations throughout the nation. Judith spent eight years as a middle and high school social studies and reading teacher. Julie Meltzer, PhD, is Senior Advisor for Research, Strategy, and Design at Public Consulting Group's Center for Resource Management (PCG-CRM) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She is responsible for the design of consulting services related to 21st Century Teaching and Learning, Response to Intervention (RtI), and Literacy and Learning. As director of theAdolescent Literacy Project at the LAB at BrownUniversity, she developed the Adolescent Literacy Support Framework showcased on the Knowledge Loom Web site and was on the development team for the Council of Chief State School Officers' (CCSSO) Adolescent Literacy Toolkit. A sought-after keynote speaker, author, reviewer, conference presenter, andworkshop leader, she seeks to empower educators to apply promising research-based practices to support the literacy development and learning needs of students. Julie is a coauthor of Meeting the Challenge of Adolescent Literacy: Practical Ideas for Literacy Leaders (with Judith Irvin, Martha Jan Mickler, Melvina Phillips, and Nancy Dean, 2009), and Taking Action on Adolescent Literacy: An Implementation Guide for School Leaders (with Judith Irvin and Melinda Dukes, 2007). She is also the author of Adolescent Literacy Resources: Linking Research and Practice (2002), and articles that have appeared in Educational Leadership, Phi Delta Kappan, Principal Leadership, In Perspective, and other educational publications. She brings substantive experience as a teacher, teacher educator, and leadership coach to her work in the areas of systemic school improvement, capacity building, and design of professional development services and materials. Julie and her colleagues work with schools and districts throughout the country. Nancy Dean, EdS, is Professor Emerita at the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. During her 39 years in education, she has taught middle and high school English, special education, reading, debate, social studies, English for speakers of other languages, and Advanced Placement English. She is also an experienced literacy coach and curriculumspecialist. Committed to school literacy reform and meaningful professional development, she has worked extensively with teachers and school leaders in urban and rural schools throughout the United States. She is an associate director of the National Literacy Project and a lead presenter for that organization. In addition, she is a national consultant in secondary literacy and literacy leadership and director of Leadership Through Reading, a cross-age tutoring program. Nancy is the author of Voice Lessons: Classroom Activities to Teach Diction, Detail, Imagery, Syntax, and Tone (2000); Discovering Voice: Voice Lessons for Middle and High School (2006); and the Writing Intervention Kit for High School (2008). She is also coauthor (with Candace Harper) of Succeeding in Reading: A Complete Cross-Age Tutoring Program (2006), and Meeting the Challenge in Adolescent Literacy: Practical Ideas for Literacy Leaders (with Judith Irvin, Julie Meltzer, Martha Jan Mickler, and Melvina Phillips, 2009). Martha Jan Mickler, PhD, is currently a private consultant specializing in adolescent literacy. Sheworks with administrators and teachers in classroom and seminar settings with the focus on developing literacy leadership and helping teachers integrate literacywithin academic and fine arts content areas. She has held a variety of leadership positions in education, including Supervisor of Secondary Reading (Pinellas County, Florida); Principal, Fairyland Elementary School (Walker County, Georgia); Supervisor of English and World Languages and Director of Teaching and Learning (Chattanooga Public Schools,Tennessee); and Director of Music Therapy (New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute, Princeton, New Jersey). She was also a resource teacher at Fairyland School and a piano instructor and performing artist for Cadek Conservatory (Chattanooga, Tennessee). Martha Jan has been active in many professional organizations, including the National Council of Teachers, serving as President of theTennessee Council of Teachers from 1997 to 1999. She serves on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and has coauthored a book on literacy leadership: Meeting the Challenge of Adolescent Literacy: Practical Ideas for School Leaders (with Judith Irvin, Julie Meltzer, Melvina Phillips, and Nancy Dean, 2009). Her published articles have appeared inmany periodicals, including the Journal of Special Education, Classroom Leadership, Spelling Progress Quarterly, and Computers, Reading, and Language Arts.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th May 2010


Judith L. Irvin

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SAGE Publications Inc


248 pages


Literacy strategies



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