How PLC for Teachers Can Help

We’re running into a problem, and we’re running into it every day, in every school, in every community: We don’t know how to explicitly teach and/or model reading for our students.

What’s more: we don’t know how to use the Professional Learning Community (PLC) process to help us solve this problem.

For years, teachers have been unintentionally collecting useless data (on accident) because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do. The issue is the data they often collect leads them nowhere. They aren’t sure how to re-teach something that isn’t a skill, but rather, content. And, if they’ve assessed a skill that’s connected to their standards, often they aren’t sure how to back up and re-teach through explicit modeling, practice, and discussion.

Diverse group of young students look sitting and looking at a book

What strategies for teaching reading will work best for you?

We know from the research of John Hattie’s Visible Learning team that there are certain strategies for teaching reading, and influences that propel student achievement at faster rates than others. Collective Teacher Efficacy and Teacher Estimates of Achievement consistently top the list.

Still, when PLC for teachers teams get stuck on which strategies to use to respond to needs regarding literacy (as well as math, science, and social studies) we need to respond with actual examples. Visible Learning for Literacy is a resource that has guided my work with districts for the past three years, and as I reflect on my own literacy practices in the classroom, I now better understand how to guide a reader to a deeper processing of a text.

In response to multiple requests for guidance and support from district, elementary, and secondary teams alike, I’ve created this self-guided resource for PLC for schools. This slide deck takes the top 18 strategies that grow readers and provides examples of what the strategies look like and sound like in our classrooms. To download your own free copy, click here.

Surface, deep, transfer learning infographic

All readers need to first comprehend what they’ve read at a surface level before they can think critically about the content. And, we don’t think critically about a text without applying at least one of the six deep strategies.

The Benefits of PLCs for Teachers

Rather than simply assigning readings to students, we need to first understand that processing and analyzing complex texts requires thoughtful lesson design and progression. By working with our PLCs for teachers, we can determine literacy related goals across our disciplines, and then continually reference and utilize these strategies for teaching reading in our lesson design. As a PLC, we can reflect on the effectiveness of Close Reading lessons or structures used in a Jigsaw reading. We can co-plan and brainstorm together, reflect on lesson design together, and even observe one another implementing these strategies.

While PLC time is not meant to be a lesson planning time, it is meant to help us better design responses to what students need. For far too long, we have had our own surface conversations around how we’ll respond to data without enough research or concrete examples of what actually works.

My hope is that this resource will allow you and your team to gain valuable, tangible examples of what works regarding reading so that you can best support your students.

We have found the Impact Team PLC model to be able to expand student ownership of learning and support schools and systems in creating the conditions for collective teacher efficacy. The Ten Purposeful Protocols ensure that educators and students are able to focus their time and energy gathering valuable evidence, engaging in analysis, and planning collective actions that have significant impact. If you want to know more, check out the Impact Team webpage or pick up a copy of our book, “Leading Impact Teams: Building a Culture of Efficacy.”



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