One of the reasons we continue to partner with Children’s Literacy Initiative is the long term capacity of its professional development for our teachers. One can always tell that a teacher was CLI trained. I see the practices in literacy years after the initial training. It is a contributing factor in the quality of our early childhood classes across the city.
Professional Development Services
About our Training and Coaching
CLI Institutes, seminars, and workshops immerse participants in the most current research in exemplary practices, build on prior knowledge, and move toward clear outcomes. Our expert Professional Developers, 90% of whom hold masters degrees, guide participants through the process and also provide one-on-one coaching in the classroom to help teachers implement newly learned instructional practices.
Coaching by our Professional Developers deepens, expands, and sustains the professional learning while building a culture of literacy. Professional Developers work with grade-level teams to plan lessons, evaluate student work, refine instruction, and observe and discuss demonstration lessons.
Our training and coaching sessions focus on implementing five key components:
Literacy Environment: How to create a book- and print-rich environment that promotes student learning and independence, and establish a community of learners through effective classroom management.
Message Time Plus®: A modeled writing and shared reading practice that teaches vocabulary development, work study, and concepts about print, as well as reading and writing skills and strategies in a meaningful context.
Reading: The five areas of reading instruction – phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension are instructed through the following practices: intentional read aloud, reading workshop, guided reading instruction, and independent and partner reading.
Writing: The content, organization, style, voice, and conventions of writing are instructed through the following practices: modeled writing, shared writing, interactive writing, and the writing workshop.
Small Group and Individualized Learning: Differentiated instruction in literacy occurs within the following practices: skill and strategy groups, guided reading, conferencing, and literacy centers.
More About Coaching
A growing body of research suggests that follow-up coaching is highly effective in helping teachers develop fluency in skills and techniques that they have acquired in formal professional development trainings. Researchers report that teachers typically forget 90% of what they learn in one-time workshops or seminars.  The coach provides the teacher with the opportunity to practice and then receive feedback on the strategies in his/her own work setting. Further, the coach provides assistance in becoming a reflective practitioner, modeling how to think about the lesson, what worked and what didn’t and why, what to revise, and additional useful skills, techniques and behaviors.
CLI Professional Developers are experts in coaching teachers in the classroom. Coaching is not supervising, and it is more than correcting teachers and showing them new procedures and instructional strategies. We coach to establish a shift in thinking about teaching and learning and help teachers examine how information is taken in and how it is imparted to others. We work to connect their own instruction with what is actually learned and what is not learned, overcoming what is often a disconnect between teaching and student performance. Just because something is “taught” does not necessarily mean it is learned, especially with the wide range of literacy levels among children in urban classrooms.
Teachers are encouraged to reflect on instruction and analyze student work, and think of how to revise their instruction to bring about an improvement in student work. They learn that to teach a lesson effectively, they need to be clear about their objective(s) and to understand the effective pedagogy and the literacy content inherent in the lesson that will help them meet that objective. The teachers learn from their own experience of being coached how to do the same with their students: individualize instruction, coach each student at their own level, and then scaffold to the next level.
CLI also helps school-based coaches develop their practice by offering an intensive, hands-on Coaching Camp.
A Professional Developer works with individual teachers in the Content-Focused Coaching Model:
- In a pre-conference, teacher and Professional Developer discuss literacy goals, lesson plan and implementation, and core issues in effective lesson design.
- Teacher and Professional Developer then decide on the level of support needed from the Professional Developer in the lesson in order to determine whether the Professional Developer models, co-teaches, or observes the lesson being taught
- In a post conference, the teacher and Professional Developer reflect on student learning by analyzing student work, considering the effectiveness of the lesson, and planning for the goals of future lessons.
Coaching conversations focus on core issues in lesson design such as lesson goals, the literacy content of the lesson, the context of the lesson, students’ prior knowledge, lesson implementation, evidence of students’ understanding and learning, and collaboration in a learning community.
A Professional Developer works with small groups of teachers to plan and pre-conference in the Content-Focused Coaching Model described above. One or more teachers teach the lesson in one of the classrooms and the group then reviews the lesson in a post-conference. A series of coaching sessions on one instructional practice or technique can be planned to meet professional development needs.
Grade Level Meetings
A Professional Developer works with grade-level teams during time in the school schedule to plan lessons, examine student work and student data provided by the teachers, and refine instruction. Attendance by the school reading coach is suggested. Grade-level meetings are most effective when accompanied by CLI coaching in the classroom.
Guided Visit to a CLI Model Classroom
Accompanied by a CLI Professional Developer, teachers receiving CLI coaching visit one of our highly effective Model Classrooms. Participants have the opportunity to observe the [best literacy instructional practices in action] CLI model of instruction. The Professional Developer highlights aspects of best practices in that classroom, answers questions, and facilitates participant observations.
 The Harvard Education Letter, January/February 1995, Vol. XI, No. 1, 1-3.
When she walked into her first job, teaching first graders on the city’s South Side, she discovered a major shortcoming: she had no idea how to teach children to read. “I was certified and stamped with a mark of approval, and I couldn’t teach them the one thing they most needed to know how to do."