Can a small group of well-prepared teachers change the lives of 10,000 students? Yes! Through a core group of 76, teacher-trainers from Dallas-based Shelton School brought Structured Literacy (SL) to the classrooms of more than 2,800 elementary school teachers in Mississippi and Alabama. Together this small group of superheroes improved the literacy skills of more than 10,000 students. How did they do it?
We know if students are given strong, structured core reading instruction early on, fewer will struggle with reading later. Shelton trainers, led by IDA board member Nancy Coffman, went out of their way to to deliver intensive SL intervention strategies. The program addressed the needs of both the students who require intensive instruction and those who need short-term support.
There’s more. A powerful network effect extended the reach further than predicted. In the age of social media and informal digital teacher networks, the Shelton instructors discovered intensive teacher training not only has an impact on the teachers trained and the students that they serve, but also the colleagues of those teachers as well as their students.
Next week we’ll describe the specific Structured Literacy techniques teachers from Alabama and Mississippi found most valuable.
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