The various elements of the program are organized around a set of evidence-based literacy practices such as those recommended by the Michigan Early Literacy Task force (Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, n.d.), which align with the new North Carolina Standard Course of Study, the report of the National Reading Panel (NICHHD, 2000), and recommendations in the Institute for Education Sciences Practice Guides for teaching foundational reading skills (Foorman et al., 2016), improving reading comprehension (Shanahan et al., 2010), and teaching elementary writers (Graham et al., 2012).
10 Essential Practices:
- Organize and manage the literacy environment to build classroom community and maximize instructional time
- Foster literacy engagement and motivation to deliberately promote the joy of reading and writing
- Read aloud a variety of high-quality books and other materials for a range of purposes
- Provide explicit instruction and guided application in phonological awareness and word identification skills and strategies
- Observe and assess language and literacy development to inform and differentiate instruction based on students’ strengths and needs
- Immerse students in a literacy environment that includes abundant reading materials and ample opportunities to read connected text to promote fluent reading
- Build vocabulary and content knowledge through intentional and ambitious efforts
- Teach students how to comprehend increasingly complex narratives and informational texts
- Create daily opportunities for students to write for a variety of purposes and audiences throughout the day
- Collaborate with families to promote literacy across home and school contexts
Wolfpack WORKS: Evidence-Based, K-2 Literacy Practices and Indicators
Building on the work of the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators General Education Leadership Network Early Literacy Task Force (2016), researchers and educators with expertise in early literacy instruction with extensive professional experience in North Carolina (see Appendix A) created the following evidence-based, literacy practices and indicators for beginning, Grades K-2 classroom teachers working in high-need school districts across the state of North Carolina. These practices align with the North Carolina Comprehensive Reading Plan K-12, the North Carolina English Language Arts Standard Course of Study, and the North Carolina English Language Arts Instructional Practices.
Through their implementation of these literacy practices, Grades K-2 classroom teachers will engage in “thoughtfully adaptive teaching” (Duffy et al., 2008) to meet the individual and collective reading and writing needs of their students optimally in the classroom setting, thus reducing the need for students to receive literacy interventions or other forms of specialized literacy instruction. Many of these practices are intended to be implemented not only during designated literacy instructional blocks, but rather throughout (and beyond) each and every school day.
The literacy instructional practices connect to and build upon one another. All practices emphasize the importance of enhancing students’ oral language development, teaching in culturally relevant and culturally responsive ways, the importance of explicit instruction, engaging students actively in their learning, and providing optimal support for all students in their literacy growth and development.
In addition to these practices, multiple resources have been developed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction that will serve to help and support beginning, Grades K-2 teachers in North Carolina in their literacy instruction:
Through the Wolfpack WORKS initiative, beginning teachers in Grades K-2 are being provided blended professional development, literacy-specific coaching tied to the practices, and literacy resources. Wolfpack WORKS focuses on classroom teaching to assist teachers in implementing evidence-based, high-quality literacy instruction that supports students’ reading and writing achievement and motivation.