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Target Early Literacy Skills in Your District by Participating in the Strategies to Improve Reading (STIR) Approach

Midwest | April 09, 2024

A Teacher reading to students

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest is providing FREE professional development on evidence-based early literacy practices to school districts across the Midwest states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin). We are looking for districts who want to join the Strategies to Improve Reading (STIR) partnership, starting in summer 2024 through the 2024/25 school year, to participate in and give feedback about the professional development approach.

The STIR approach

The STIR approach offers a package of learning opportunities for kindergarten through grade 2 teachers and school leaders to help educators incorporate evidence-based classroom practices and data into teaching phonological awareness and phonics.

This professional development includes the following:

  • Monthly community of practice (CoP) meetings for instructional coaches (and/or other early literacy leaders in the district). The goal of these meetings is to build the coaches' capacity to support teachers' use of data and evidence-based instructional routines to build students' phonological awareness and phonics skills.
  • Free training for kindergarten through grade 2 teachers on building students' phonological awareness and phonics skills using evidence-based practices and data to inform instruction.
  • Professional learning communities (PLCs) and coaching for kindergarten through grade 2 teachers provided by their district instructional coaches to explore the use of data and instructional routines.

What does it mean to be a member of the STIR partnership?

Teachers and school leaders begin by participating in STIR's one-day summer institute on instructional routines and data use to support the development of students' phonological awareness and phonics skills. Following the STIR summer institute, instructional coaches participate in coaching and a virtual CoP to build their capacity to increase teachers' use of evidence-based instructional routines and data to develop students' phonological awareness and phonics skills. Kindergarten through grade 2 teachers will participate in PLCs and coaching provided by their local instructional coaches to explore and increase their use of instructional routines and data.

What are the benefits of participating in the STIR approach?

Joining the STIR partnership is free and includes the opportunity for ongoing professional development for teachers, literacy coaches, and principals to learn about instructional routines and data that support the development of students' phonological awareness and phonics skills.

Who is eligible to join the STIR partnership?

All public school districts in the Midwest are eligible to join the STIR partnership. Some districts may choose to implement the STIR approach; others may choose to join the partnership to learn more about the work and consider opportunities for implementation in the future. Districts that choose to implement the STIR approach in the 2024/25 school year should have at least two schools with kindergarten through grade 2 classrooms.

Contact us to learn more!

If you have questions or are interested in participating in the STIR partnership, please contact Tina Ryznar (tryznar@air.org).

STIR is looking for districts to commit to partner by May 2024. A full timeline for STIR during the 2024/25 school year is provided in the FAQ document below.

Other resources

Author(s)

Mia Mamone

Mia Mamone

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