Literacy Unleashed: Six Ways to Implement Effective Literacy Change


Time and funding for classroom resources and professional development are always at a premium! Schools and districts need clear classroom data focused on the literacy culture and instructional practices in order to make productive decisions about investing in these critical elements. The Literacy Classroom Visit Model can provide the necessary process to collect ongoing information that can lead to success!

Collecting and using the Literacy Classroom Visit Model data from every school across a district can provide a richer, more comprehensive view of the status of teaching and learning districtwide. Districts can use these data to design improvement plans and help outline the best strategies for reaching district and school goals. Below is a framework and process to effectively guide the Literacy Classroom Visits (LCV) in implementing effective literacy change:

  1. Establish a Body of Evidence: Leaders and teachers partner to collect Literacy Classroom Visit data about the overall literacy integration and culture school-wide over time.
  2. Identify Instructional Patterns: Data patterns inform effectiveness in shifting the ownership of learning to our students.
  3. Design Professional Learning: Develop evidence-based professional learning plans and PLC content to cultivate reflective practice and continuous learning.
  4. Implementation of Professional Learning: Leaders use Enhanced LCV observation instruments designed to dig deeper into the specific area of instruction to guide successful implementation of new learning and instructional practices.
  5. Interactive Feedback: Leaders model non-evaluative, action-oriented feedback conversations about the LCV data with teachers to inspire growth and change.
  6. Ongoing Data Analysis: Periodic analysis and discussion of literacy classroom visit data inform a school community of the impact professional learning growth has on instruction and student learning.

Watch this video as principals from Mounds View elementary schools in Minnesota share the benefits of using the Literacy Classroom Visit Model.

The ultimate goal of the Literacy Classroom Visit Model is to create a literacy culture that inspires children to read. Todd Durand, a principal in Mounds View, Minnesota sums it all up, “We have more kids reading than ever before. They love to read. Since we have dedicated our professional learning to literacy, we have more books checked out from the school library, the guided reading library, and classroom libraries. Students know what they are supposed to learn and do, using their own work as evidence of accomplishment. This revitalization and focus on literacy- based professional learning has changed our instructional practice.”

Bonnie and Sandi are authors of Literacy Unleashed: Fostering Excellent Reading Instruction Through Classroom Visits (ASCD 2016). You can learn more about their book here.

Also, if you’re attending Empower18, don’t forget to sign-up for the pre-conference institute Literacy Unleashed: Leading with the Literacy Classroom Visit Model.

Bonnie D. Houck, Ed.D., specializes in literacy leadership development and positive school change. Bonnie currently serves as associate professor of education at Bethel University, provides training through the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA), and works with schools and districts as a coach and consultant.

Sandi Novak is an education consultant, author, and ASCD faculty with experience as an assistant superintendent, principal, professional learning director, and teacher. During the last eight years, she has partnered with schools to improve instructional leadership in reading.



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