District 28 uses the Literacy Studio model to teach reading and writing skills. Research overwhelmingly indicates that student performance in reading is enhanced by integrating writing instruction, and student writing-quality increases as a result of applying skills taught in reading. This model has been developed and refined since 2007.
The district developed the following series of videos to help parents understand the teaching philosophy behind Literacy Studio and to provide a glimpse into the classroom of Literacy Studio in action. The videos were developed based on discussions and questions emanating from a 2019 parent communications survey and the parent-based Communications Advisory Committee.
What is Literacy Studio?
Veteran 3rd-grade teacher Mindi Rench talks about the development and philosophy of District 28’s literacy instruction in this video interview.
The Power of Literacy Studio
This model of literacy instruction is designed to create a context for engaged learning. The model includes whole group instruction; small, needs-based groups, and ample time to read, write, speak, listen and reflect independently and in groups. Fifth-grade teacher Jess Lifshitz and Westmoor Principal Mary Sturgill explain how this practice resonates with students and is reflected in their learning.
Developing Strong Writers
Students are writing every day - stories, analysis and research to hone their skills as writers. They do this through generating ideas, creating drafts, revising & editing and then finally publishing or getting their writing ready to share with others. Word study, the study of phonics, spelling and vocabulary, is used in our elementary classrooms to help students sound out words, spell them correctly, and understand their meaning. Patterns of Power reinforces grammar study. Penmanship and cursive is woven into practice so students can communicate their ideas clearly. Elementary principals Mary Sturgill, Ginny Hiltz, Pat Thome, Instructional Facilitator Danielle Rubel and 3rd-grade teacher Mindi Rench explain.
Measuring Student Learning
Common language is essential when discussing attributes of Literacy Studio across a school and the district. A set of common practices, patterns and trends was developed by teachers, principals and literacy specialists to ‘look for’ across the district. This video offers a glimpse into teacher assessment of student work and how teachers focus on individual success. Principals Ginny Hiltz and Mary Sturgill explain.