The Literacy Collaborative is one of the largest and most promising initiatives to address literacy instruction. It is used in almost 600 elementary schools in 200 districts across 26 states. It builds on some 30 years of systematic research and development on early literacy learning. This is an IES-funded “Goal 2 Study” that involves original measurement development on teacher practice, construction of a development metric from component reading skill inventories, social network measurement, and, of course, all of the logistical and technical nuances associated with systematic education field trials. (http://irepp.stanford.edu/projects/pd.htm)
Our school just found out that it has acquired a Literacy Specialist, one of our own English teachers. The federal grant amounts to 70 million dollars and touches, as you can see above, 200 districts in 26 states. What the duties will be for that specialist is still a mystery that should hopefully be cleared up before the new school year begins. Now the big question is “Why do we need to spend so much money on literacy and will it make a difference?” Most high school teachers, this one included, have questioned the abysmal level of reading comprehension and writing skills of our incoming freshmen. It seems, I am sorry to say, that elementary and middle schools are not doing a very good job at teaching English (one of my pet peeves). So why involve high schools in this project?