Projects

Projects folder web 320 x 240At Learning Unlimited, our Literacy Team collaborates with schools and districts on a wide variety of projects. Short-term projects may include a specific program review and evaluation while long-term projects include The Literacy Lens Audit, planning and supporting professional development, and technical assistance to support reading and writing improvement efforts. Read below to discover the variety of literacy projects that we’ve supported and implemented to help teachers, coaches, and administrators strengthen and improve literacy learning in their setting.

 

The Literacy Lens™ Districtwide Audit

School districts work with Learning Unlimited for our expertise in reviewing and analyzing the literacy environment, practices, resources, and policies. We recently identified a district’s specific strengths and gaps around reading and writing and, more importantly, assisted them in creating a blueprint for literacy improvement. Benefits for the district include: developing a K-12 comprehensive literacy framework, clearly defining roles and support structures, aligning curriculum across and between grade levels, developing Bookrooms, building classroom libraries, a clear plan for professional development, and building a common literacy language.

READ 180 Program Audit

We audited the effectiveness of the READ 180 program at the high school level for a suburban, midsized school district. We analyzed the effectiveness of the READ 180 intervention program within specific subgroups including: gender, race, grade level, special populations, and more. The audit enabled the district leaders to clarify the goals of the program, determine who benefited most from the intervention, and guide resources to better support struggling readers at the high school level.

K-12 Literacy Team

A K-12 Literacy Team provides a support framework for moving forward reading and writing initiatives across a district. We helped support professional learning for the Literacy Team by developing a common literacy language, identifying core literacy beliefs, and in identifying reading and vocabulary strategies applicable to K-12 students. Team members and administrators met once a month for professional learning, completed book studies, and shared new learning with staff at their schools. Teams created goals specific to their setting and reported to the group each month. The professional growth was astounding. One teacher summed up her experience like this, “The K-12 Literacy Team has been great for me, almost like a graduate course in literacy. The content in these meeting brought me back up to speed on current best practices and research.”

Literacy Leadership 101

In order to support continual literacy growth and achievement in their schools, literacy leaders and administrators need to increase their depth of understanding around literacy. That’s where we come in! Elementary, Middle, High School Principals, and Central Office Administrators have worked with Learning Unlimited to create a common K-12 literacy language, define schoolwide and districtwide literacy goals, and increase their knowledge specifically around best practices in reading, writing, and vocabulary development. Continued literacy growth needs a solid foundation of distributed literacy leadership – work with us to deepen your administrator’s literacy knowledge so they can best support teachers.

School- and Districtwide Vocabulary Development

No other factor has more impact on literacy learning and comprehension than a broad and wide vocabulary! Learning Unlimited has worked with teachers in schools and districts to increase teachers’ knowledge and practice specifically in effective vocabulary instruction. Nothing spelled success quite like an entire staff who got on board and participated in yearlong professional learning, implemented vocabulary strategies into their daily lessons, and creating a wide variety of word walls, student vocabulary journals, and activities in every classroom!

Bookroom Development

Learning Unlimited guided and supported a school in their dream to create a shared Bookroom from the ground up. The goal for the newly created Bookroom was to support their balanced literacy program. With the assistance of Learning Unlimited, the staff inventoried current books and shared resources, surveyed teachers, and reviewed curriculum needs. Then we helped them create a world-class Bookroom with print and multi-media resources to support balanced literacy instruction. The Bookroom is highly organized, easy to use, accessible for teachers, and includes a simple-to-use checkout system.

Elementary Literacy Best Practices Team

We helped support professional learning specific to literacy best practices for a team of elementary teachers and literacy coaches representing schools across a district. Inquiry areas included: spelling and grammar instruction, vocabulary, fluency, independent reading, and the role of phonics and phonemic awareness. The goal was to develop clarity around balanced literacy practices and expectations across the schools in the district. The team used this information to develop a “Best Practices” eBook which included links to resources to support teaching and learning.

Transitioning Reading Specialists to Literacy Coaches

The role of Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches is uniquely different. When a district was transitioning their Reading Specialists to the role of serving teachers as literacy coaches, they called on Learning Unlimited to help support that transition. The change in roles proved challenging for both coaches and teachers; supporting the coaches in learning more about the change process of an organization, cognitive coaching, and the roles of literacy coaches proved beneficial in supporting their new roles. Supporting them both as a group and as individuals was important to help each coach feel successful in their school setting.

Clarity Coaching for Literacy Coaches

Do your Literacy Coaches wear many hats? If so, your coaches are not alone. Most Literacy coaches not only support strategic teaching and professional learning, but are often responsible for many other activities as well. These might include planning and providing professional development, modeling lessons, co-teaching, tracking data, and Bookroom management – to name just a few. To maintain their focus and effectiveness, coaches need support. Learning Unlimited has worked specifically with coaches to support their continual professional learning specific to reading and writing, cognitive coaching, the change process, and the latest in assessing literacy learning.

The Literacy Lens™ Schoolwide Audit

Schools smartly turn to the Literacy Lens Audit when they are seeking specific feedback on their literacy practices in order to develop a strategic plan for literacy improvement. No other service provides the level of specific feedback and clear, research-based direction for improving reading and writing instruction. Recently, we conducted a schoolwide audit for a high-poverty school who was struggling with literacy achievement. Following the audit, we worked with the staff to create a short and long-term plan for improvement, supported the schoolwide literacy team, and measured progress. Classroom libraries grew, vocabulary instruction improved, students were reading independently with greater frequency, and everyone rejoiced when the school made AYP!

Technical Assistance

When schools need hands-on assistance to jump-start and forward school improvement efforts, they turn to Learning Unlimited. Recently we worked with several schools with services that included:  schoolwide literacy audit, in-classroom modeling and co-teaching, bookroom development, support for the schoolwide improvement team, professional development, hands-on assistance when developing the PL 221 School Improvement Plan, literacy walk-through training. Teachers felt supported, instruction became more aligned to literacy best practices, and student achievement increased.