Teachers spend vacation learning about new Reading Units of Study


A group of elementary level educators spent part of their summer vacation coming together as a professional learning community to support the new Reading Units of Study adopted this past June in Plainville’s elementary schools.

The group, made up of approximately 25 elementary school educators from Wheeler, Toffolon and Linden Street School, and known as the Reading Implementation Team, gathered throughout the summer with a focus on the new Reading Units of Study, from the Teachers College at Columbia University.

To kick off the group’s work on July 9, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator Tawana Graham-Douglas delivered a presentation on the philosophy and structure of the elementary reading program. From there, the group continued to meet regularly over the summer to learn about the teaching of reading, shifts in ideas and topics regarding reading, and to exchange knowledge and information, while building professional capital through their professional learning community– a district focus for Plainville Community Schools.

A sub-group of the Reading Implementation Team also spent part of their summer vacation expanding their knowledge of the teaching of reading at the Teachers College Reading Institute at Columbia University. Linden Principal Paula Eshoo, Wheeler faculty member Kirsten Penner, Linden Literacy Resource Teacher, Melissa Tynik, Toffolon Principal Lynn Logoyke, and Elementary Curriculum Coordinator Tawana Graham- Douglas spent a week of intensive training focused on the teaching of reading and the Reading Units of Study. The workshop coordinated through the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, draws thousands of educators from the around the world, and offers both beginners and advanced tracts for educators. Highlights of the week- long program included a focus on the central role of curriculum development in the teaching of reading, Units of Study in the reading workshop, aligning reading instruction to the Common Core Standards, comprehension strategy instruction, and more. Upon their return from the Reading Institute, attendees shared their newly acquired knowledge with Reading Implementation Team members, including the latest information from the Reading Institute program. The Reading Implementation Team continues to support colleagues across all three Plainville elementary schools.

“Working with teachers this past summer was invigorating. Watching teacher leaders and grade level teams as they collaborated and discussed how well the new units were written, how much more our children will learn, know and be able to do, and plan for how to share the work with colleagues, left us all eager for the school year to begin,” said Graham-Douglas in a press release from Plainville Community Schools. “We are already seeing students rise to the increased expectations as they learn to think more deeply, build a reading life by developing sound reading habits of mind, and write to better understand and grow more advanced ideas.”