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Strategies to Improve Reading

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest is partnering with Michigan school districts to increase kindergarten and grade 1 reading skills. To meet this goal, the Strategies to Improve Reading (STIR) partnership will develop, test, and refine an approach—consisting of a set of resources, tools, trainings, and coaching sessions—to support educators and school leaders in integrating evidence-based strategies and student-focused practices into K–1 literacy instruction, with a focus on students’ ability to decode unfamiliar words. This approach will build educator capacity to (a) implement features of effective instructional practices for phonological awareness and phonics, (b) use and support decision-driven data collection and analysis, and (c) adapt leadership practices to support literacy.

REL Midwest will test the usability, feasibility, and acceptability of a package of professional learning opportunities for kindergarten and grade 1 teachers called Strategies to Improve Reading (STIR). STIR has multiple components, including (a) a summer institute; (b) a facilitated professional learning community; and (c) on-site, job-embedded coaching. STIR is designed to support effective instruction in phonics and phonological awareness; data collection and use to inform literacy instruction and intervention; and effective leadership practices for literacy for kindergarten and grade 1 teachers and school leaders. To understand whether STIR is usable, feasible, and acceptable to educators, the research team will conduct surveys and interviews with teachers, school leaders, and district leaders; collect data from artifacts used during the professional learning opportunities; and collect student test scores. The research team will produce multiple deliverables, including a report, a blog post, an infographic, and presentations to district stakeholders.

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