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Sept. 21, 2016
Six faculty members representing Northwest Missouri State University’s Horace Mann Laboratory School recently attended a week-long summer institute sponsored by Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College in New York.
Horace Mann faculty Nancy Farlow, Michelle Vaught, Laura King, Andrea Mason, Sarah Winans, and Principal Sandy Seipel attended the institute. The institute is designed for educators, classroom teachers and curriculum specialists who are committed to providing a rich literate reading and writing environment for children.
“I believe that the best practices from our own reading backgrounds, combined with the talents and knowledge of renowned authors in the field of literacy, has provided our students with some of the best, deep-level reading instruction in this area,” Andrea Mason, Horace Mann third and fourth grade instructor, said.
During the intensive five-day institute teachers worked in large and small groups to explore curriculum development, instruction, assessment, the importance of reading aloud, and how to establish classroom structures that promote inquiry and collaboration with literature.
Horace Mann emphasizes a balanced literacy approach to reading and writing based on the works of Lucy Calkins and other leading literacy researchers. Students in the Northwest School of Education’s reading methods courses learn the components of a quality balanced literacy program and practice their skills in Horace Mann classrooms.
Both the elementary students and Northwest students benefit from this collaborative effort.
“The Reading and Writing Project training has better equipped me to coach practicum students as they implement components in their instruction,” Sarah Winans, Horace Mann fifth and sixth grade instructor, said. “The impact has been obvious much quicker than I had imagined. There was a moment just weeks into the school year when a practicum teacher and I were examining the progression of a fifth grader’s writing about the novel he was reading. We literally gasped at the last entry. The growth in the depth of the student’s thinking was that noteworthy and impressive.”
The Teacher College Reading and Writing Project is a think tank and community of practice for researchers, professors and teachers. Calkins founded the project to help children become avid and skills readers, writers and inquirers. Calkins is the author of many best-selling books about reading and writing, and her work has influenced schools and educators throughout the world. Her workshop model for reading and writing instruction consists of independent student work in combination with teacher modeling, one-on-one and small group instruction and guidance and student book choice.
“There is strong research to support the work of Calkins and her peers using the Reading and Writing Workshop approach to literacy instruction that support students reading texts independently with at least 96 percent fluency, accuracy and comprehension,” Seipel said. “Turning children into readers through an emphasis on a high volume of high-success, high-interest reading is linked to evidence by researchers in the field of reading. Northwest and Horace Mann provide students in the School of Education with the knowledge and skills to enter the teaching field fully prepared.”
For more information about Horace Mann and its Phyllis and Richard Leet Center for Children and Families, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/horacemann.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468