Achieving Lift-Off: How to Quickly Elevate Reading Teachers

It's been said before: Teaching reading IS rocket science - or at least similarly difficult. We understand. Learning to read is both complex and crucial. So is teaching students how. Early Reading Matters is our initiative to transform reading instruction in high needs elementary schools. CNN’s Kelly Wallace recently spent the day visiting P.S. 94 in the Bronx to learn more about how we teach teachers to teach reading. In her story she describes what she found. One takeaway: even the most novice teacher can dramatically and quickly improve practice.

Explains Diane Daprocida, principal of P.S. 94, "We have a very young teaching staff, who came out of college in the last six years without the pedagogy skills to teach reading." Now, she continues, "if you look at our 3rd grade results, they're the highest they've ever been mid-year. That doesn't happen magically. Second grade came into 3rd grade strong."

Of course, even experienced teachers can need support, especially in the shifting terrain of the last several years. The Common Core has added new demands, and student populations have many and increasing needs. Teachers must have deep understanding of how to reach their young learners, and administrators have to know how to target support for teachers. We are there to help build capacity - and help schools increase knowledge and set up structures for continuous improvement in the future.

Teachers learn to choose appropriate texts, set learning targets, create engaging lessons and track progress using “I can” statements. Classrooms are both abuzz with student energy, and well-structured. This systematic approach is driven by the guidance Teaching Matters coaches provide to teacher leaders, who in turn, and with Teaching Matters continuing support, build teachers' capacity to effectively teach reading. It’s practical, it’s deep, and it is very necessary.