Celebrating Successes in Early Grade Literacy

May 25, 2022 | Early Grade Literacy

Last month, Cradle to Career (C2C) held a year end celebration with five Early Grade Literacy teams from Marana Unified School District. This was the first time that all five of the school teams were able to meet together, getting the chance to share learnings from their schools and celebrate reading successes.
The celebration was a culmination of the efforts of each of these school teams and C2C’s continuous improvement model. Early in the year, each team reviewed their classroom reading data, identified opportunity gaps, and developed strategies and instructional practices to increase reading proficiency. C2C would meet with each team throughout the year to analyze the results of these strategies and make adjustments along the way.
Some strategies that were tested throughout the school year include:
  • Restructuring students’ independent work and guided reading time to include more word work activities to help students develop vocabulary and spelling skills.
  • Intentionally teaching more phonics lessons and using more visuals in K-3rd grade classrooms to address challenges that came with online learning around letter sound modeling.
  • Using the data to guide instruction, group students, and identify needed skills for each student.
Educators were also given the opportunity to provide feedback about the partnership.
“Looking at data can often times make teachers feel like we are not doing the right things,” said Michelle Castillo, Reading Specialist at Butterfield Elementary School. “Working with C2C was a safe place to practice new ideas. It helped us focus on the good in the data and encouraged us to take steps to make small improvements that ended up making a big impact. It also allowed me time to collaborate with my colleagues”
Some educators also remarked on the ways working with the partnership fostered collaboration among their colleagues.
“Working with C2C this year has given us the opportunity to collaborate as a grade level and also with the grade level below to have open conversations about students,” said Ronie Egurola, 1st Grade Teacher at Butterfield Elementary. “It is also great to have a facilitator working with us to help us make goals and think through our teaching strategies. I appreciate having a positive environment in which I can hear different ideas from outside sources.”
C2C is excited to build upon the successes in the Early Grade Literacy Change Network this year and expand to other partner districts heading into the 2022-2023 school year. For more information on on the Early Grade Literacy Change Network, contact Amber Schlak at aschlak@unitedwaytucson.org.