Educators can use a variety of resources, frameworks, instructional guidelines, and other approaches to develop the best teaching strategy tailored to the needs of their students. Apart from the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out classroom activities, teachers have to show their leadership capacity in an educational setting to ensure adequate learning. This helps them structure their lessons in a manner that addresses all the essential topics that students have to master and choose a framework that will help students, even those falling behind, gain knowledge.
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The five resources that will be reviewed in this paper are pacing guides, leveled literacy intervention (LLI), literacy model – word study, structured literacy, and Beth Estill word sorts. Table 1 presents a summary of these resources and critical features, as well as an outline of how educators can use them to support learning. This paper summarizes these tools and explains how they should be used to develop and supervise the instructional and leadership capacity of the school staff.
The school’s staff can apply LLC to help the groups of students that are falling behind and are unable to achieve the same reading capability as their peers, which should result in better learning outcomes. LLC can aid in improving classroom literacy, and the main benefit of using it is the work in small groups. This resource should be used to enhance the leadership and instructional capacity of the staff by addressing the reading difficulties of some students. Due to the fact that LLC is a method developed for ensuring that all students reach their grade-level reading capacity, teachers can use it to monitor these students closely and provide them with daily practice.
More importantly, this approach helps “elevate the expertise of teachers” (“Leveled literacy intervention (LLI),” n.d., para. 15). This method should be used to develop teachers’ ability to work with struggling readers and supervise the progress that is made as a result of these interventions. Teachers, as leaders, take responsibility for evaluating student’s reading skills, examining the gap between the current state of reading and requirements, forming groups based on students’ needs, and working on these gaps.
Teachers can use pacing guides as the primary source of information regarding the set expectations for the learning because they can use this resource to plan their lessons and to ensure that they focus on the information that will be a part of student testing. As a result, they can balance the coverage and pace of their lessons, which is often a challenge, because they know what topics are more relevant and should be the focus.
Davis (2008) argues that teachers rely on pacing guides as the primary source of information regarding the topics that they teach to students. Mainly, this is connected to the fact that textbooks and other resources contain a lot of material that can overburden students, and they may overlook the topics that will be a part of the annual test. This tool can enhance the staff’s leadership capacity by ensuring that they help their students focus on the essential topics the knowledge of which will be tested since evaluation is an important aspect of education.
There are two approaches to literacy teaching – word study and structured literacy. In structured literacy, a systemic approach is a key that helps school teachers to aid students with conditions or other issues. They obstruct them from improving their reading and the program moves from understanding the smallest units to decoding words and sentences. Structured literacy can be used as a method for creating lesson plans that are sequenced and include a step-by-step learning process.
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Word study has a similar approach, however, it emphasizes the relationship between different elements of a language. Word study is a more sophisticated method when compared to a more traditional memorization approach. However, it is more effective, because educators help students develop a deeper comprehension of language structures, which they can further apply in the learning process, as oppose to memorization where the main goal is to remember words or phrases. This method can be used to develop instructional and leadership capacity of school staff by instructing educators to focus on engaging students in the process of learning and helping them create connections between different concepts.
Finally, Beth Estill Word Sorts helps teachers leverage student’s visualization skills to develop a better understanding of texts. For example, Estill (n.d.) suggests that teachers can use pictures of words when reading a text to help students understand the context better. The main idea is that instructional capacity can be enhanced if the students understand the concepts since they comprehend a general idea aids in creating connections in one’s mind (Estill, n.d.). Educators can use this approach to engage students in proactive work when providing instructions for a lesson and for structuring the lessons as a sequence of steps.
In summary, all of the examined tools allow educators to be more effective when teaching and choosing from a variety of methods that improve the learning process. All five of the examined and available resources help develop and supervise the leadership capacity of staff, because they help distinguish the topics that should be included in the lesson plans and address problems of students struggling with literacy. By using these tools, teachers become leaders since they identify a problem area and choose an appropriate instructional technique to address it.
ELS 728/828 Review of Instructional Resources
|Resource||What is it?||Key Features/Attributes||How does it support effective instruction?|
|Pacing Guides||These guides contain an outline of topics and even time that should be dedicated to reviewing them to aid teachers in preparing for the tests.||They emphasize the topics that will be included in the tests and are connected to the benchmarks set for the district. These guides can be issued each quarter or more frequently (Davis, 2008).||The district leader creates these guides to help teachers adhere to the curriculum. The main focus is on the topics that will be included in the student testing, meaning that teachers can effectively address them.|
|Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI)||LLL is a short term strategy that targets small groups and provides them with daily instructions (“Leveled literacy intervention,” n.d.)||This tool targets students who have issues with reading achievements. |
The LLI is practiced daily and aims to help students increase the volume of reading material as well as comprehension of it.
|The teacher assesses the student’ reading capabilities and comprehension of instructions to identify struggling learners. By dividing these students into small groups and working with them on a daily basis and tailoring the teaching strategy based on the initial assessment, the educator can adjust teaching methods to suit the needs of the group.|
|Literacy Model – Word Study||Instead of memorization, word study emphasizes the connection between sounds or letters, teaching students to recognize patterns (Williams, Phillips-Birdsong, Hufnagel, & Hungler, n.d.).||Teachers employ “word work” strategies to teach literacy (Williams et al., n.d.). For instance, they teach the relationships between different sounds and letters to ensure that students understand patterns. Additionally, the meaning of words is explained in connection with the semantic relationships in the language.||Memorizing can be a problematic approach to learning and understanding a language. The World model allows educators to focus on ensuring that students learn to understand the connections that exist within the language, which would aid effective learning and improved literacy.|
|Structured Literacy||The focus is on how phonology, sound-symbol recognition, syllables, morphology, syntax, and semantics work together” (Lynch, 2019)||The objective of this literacy structure is on the smallest element of a language – a phoneme. By acquiring an understanding of it, students learn to comprehend words and improve their reading skills as a result.||Reading may be an issue for many students, especially those diagnosed with dyslexia. To aid such individuals and mitigate their frustration, this tool helps teach phonemes, which is then used to understand more complex language structures.|
|Beth Estill Word Sorts||This model focuses on showing instead of telling or explaining.||One of the tools is visualization, which involves students connecting a visual image to a part of a text. Another approach is a “Doodle a Story” for evoking several pictures over the course of reading (Estill, n.d.). This approach also offers other tools to help students.||This strategy creates a welcoming environment for students, where they can leverage their imagination for better learning and comprehension of a text.|
Table 1. Review of instructional resources (created by the author).
David, J. L. (2008). What research says about… / pacing guides. Educational Leadership, 66(2), 87-88.
Estill, B. (n.d.). Integrating English language arts standards with content using mentor text. Web.
Leveled literacy intervention (LLI). (n.d.). Web.
Lynch, D. (2019). What you must know about structured literacy program. Web.
Williams, C., Phillips-Birdsong, C., Hufnagel, K., & Hungler. (n.d.). Word study instruction in the K-2 classroom. Web.