Instructional Practices

Literacy Teaching and Teachers Introduction

Well-prepared, highly qualified literacy educators are every student's right. To advance this vision of excellent teachers for all students, the Literacy Teaching and Teachers category includes, among its several foci, excellent teacher preparation programs and ongoing and collaborative professional learning experiences that support teachers' growth as they continuously work to enhance their literacy instruction and create classrooms that value all students' assets and backgrounds.

Effective teacher preparation programs address literacy at every level of study during coursework and clinical practice and provide preservice teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach strategies needed for all students to become effective readers and writers. In this category, those practices that focus on teacher preparation practices are "Supporting Preservice Teacher Learning Through Rehearsals" by Nicholas E. Husbye, "Teaching Behind the Glass" by Christy Wessel Powell, "Virtual Peer Coaching" by Sarah Vander Zanden, "Cultivating Literacy Leadership Among Future Literacy Professionals" by Laurie A. Sharp, Rebekah Piper, and Roberta D. Raymond, and "Providing Authentic Practice for Prospective Teachers" by Victoria J. Risko and Louann Reid. These provide research-based suggestions for teacher preparation practices designed to advance teacher candidates' development as teachers who understand the importance of having strong literacy practices embedded throughout their instruction and emphasize the power of literacies as the means to better understand each discipline and eventually to have both the content and the literacy skills needed to produce new information within these disciplines.

The remaining practices in this category highlight ongoing, job-embedded professional learning connected to effective, evidence-based literacy practices: "Using Digital Tools to Enhance Literacy Coaching" by Christine M. Leighton, Evelyn Ford-Connors, and Dana A. Robertson focuses on joint inquiry around instructional problems of practice. "Emphasizing Teacher Growth Through Professional Learning Communities" by Vicki Vescio similarly emphasizes teacher growth as a collective endeavor. "Promoting Ongoing Professional Learning Using Text and Discussion Protocols" by Toni Faddis describes how text-based protocols can be used to promote meaningful dialogue among teachers engaged in professional learning. "Promoting Disciplinary Literacy Through Partnerships Between Content Educators and Literacy Educators" by Nancy Frey discusses the importance of teacher partnerships across disciplines. "Examining Science Through the Eyes of Equity" by Maria Grant highlights how teachers can develop literacy practices that teach students to examine science research and practice throughout history with a focus on equity.

This collection emphasizes the necessity of ethical and effective programs and practices that identify professional development needs; the development of instructional practices that are grounded in systematic, well-developed, research-based criteria drawn from multiple literacy data points; and the power of continuous professional learning as a means to grow one's knowledge and practice throughout one's career.

—Ruth Yopp-Edwards, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Fullerton