Regional networks offer the opportunity for schools within and across a district to learn together and think carefully about implementing change strategically. In 2020, Reading Ways was contracted to produce a series of professional learning experiences centered on Literacy education for school and district leaders. Now awarded our second contract, Reading Ways is extending the network to school leaders, developing a second webinar series, and moving towards using a school readiness rubric to tailor “next steps” for school in each region.
The Ohio Adolescent Literacy Network is a standing committee of regional support specialists who are collectively responsible for supporting literacy initiatives in middle and high schools across the state. Rachel Daniels established the informal network in 2018. As the group’s size and influence grew, they received attention and support from State Support Team 3 who have invested in producing an 8-part webinar series in cooperation with Reading Ways.
Public schools will not serve as the great equalizer of opportunity until they provide all students with the chance to acquire the critical listening, reasoning, argumentation, and communication skills developed through classroom discourse and required for future success in any discipline. Children with abundant opportunities for adult-child discussions have an undeniable academic advantage. But that inequality can be significantly narrowed if we routinely provide school experiences that give every student a voice and an opportunity to hone the ability to use that voice effectively in the discussion of ideas. This presentation provides an overview of these concepts and some initiatives that have been employed to support academically productive talk in middle and high schools.