Summer Lab was a critical component of the intervention model within the LIREC grant. Structurally, the “Lab” model differed from Summer School to emphasize experimentation and growth for both teachers and students. LIREC Summer Lab is designed to be an immersive learning experience for teachers as well as students. Just as students are experiencing new ways of learning in the classroom, teachers are experimenting with new ways of working together.
LIREC Summer Labs were characterized by smaller class sizes and coupled literacy enrichment for struggling readers with intensive, inquiry-driven professional learning for teachers. The classroom component focused on engaging activities with authentic texts (such as Interactive Read-Aloud and Collaborative Writing) to build student motivation to read. Summer Lab sites experimented with a range of Family Engagement strategies to increase access to high quality texts at home and further reinforce students’ positive engagement with text. Teachers had collaborative time daily to learn about effective literacy practices, debrief practices they wereimplementing, and plan for the next day’s instruction based on that shared reflection. Learn more:
Motivation & Access to High Quality Texts
A foundational element of effective instruction, especially for struggling students, is understanding the role that motivation plays on student engagement and subsequent achievement. Helping teachers understand and support student motivation through rethinking instruction and classroom environments was a core lever in this project for supporting increased student achievement. We supported teachers in putting into practice instructional routines in the classroom that served to use motivation as a lever for change including:
- Motivation links self-efficacy (how students perceive themselves as readers as writers), task persistence, and learning. Formative assessment practices supported targeted instruction with appropriately leveled texts aligned to student interests and characterized by choice. This increased students’ enjoyment of reading and perception of themselves as capable and value of tasks and willingness to engage.
- Motivation is influenced by creating learning communities in which students have choice about how, when, and for what purposes they engage in reading; have available many types of text, and regularly engage in guided learning activities in which teachers and/or peers model and support strategic reading practices. Instructional practices were designed to foster social interaction, student ownership of goals and outcomes, and provide sufficient modeling to increase expertise and develop students’ competence and belief in their success.
Approximately $500,000 of our project funding was put into creating robust classroom libraries – many of the schools had no school library and limited or non-existent classroom libraries. In few of our rural communities was there a public library. So, we worked with community organizations and businesses to make books available and reading supported throughout the community (e.g. in restaurants, township offices, churches, local bars, and in one case a casino!). High school shop students in on district built little free libraries to put throughout the region which were then filled with books.
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