• Plains School is a Literacy Collaborative School!


    Here are frequently asked questions about Literacy Collaborative:


    Q: What is Literacy Collaborative?

    Literacy Collaborative is a research-based literacy model provided as a collaboration between our school and Lesley University. It is designed to improve the literacy achievement of each child in reading, writing and word study.


    1. How do we know Literacy Collaborative helps children?

    As a research-based model, we collect data on every child, every year, and use it to improve literacy teaching. Teachers learn how to keep track of children’s progress carefully and continuously through ongoing assessments and observations. Literacy Collaborative schools have demonstrated strong gains when the model has been implemented as designed.


    1. What grade levels are involved in my child’s school?

    Literacy Collaborative includes a primary model for grades PreK-2 (through grade 1 at Plains) that includes systemic interventions for children who are finding literacy learning difficult. Literacy Collaborative has also developed an intermediate model for grades 3-6, as well as a model for middle schools. Mosier and Middle are also participating in the Literacy Collaborative model.


    1. How does Literacy Collaborative work?

    We have an on-site literacy coach, Taryn LaRaja, who provides ongoing professional development and coaching for teachers to refine and strengthen their practice.


    1. What will my child be doing?

    Our goal is to help your child enjoy reading and writing and to demonstrate strong skills in reading, writing, phonics and spelling. Starting in prekindergarten, children learn routines for working independently, in small groups and in large groups. Teachers work with children one-on-one for individual attention, in small groups for specific learning purposes, and with the whole class to develop common understandings through brief practical “mini-lessons” and group sharing.


    1. What will I see in my child’s classroom?

    You will see a classroom layout to support students working independently, in pairs, small groups and in one whole group.  Layout may include: a rug area, a horseshoe table for small group work, work centers and clustered desks.  You will see print everywhere, particularly student-generated charts that reflect what children are learning. You will see a variety of books to allow students to experience, enjoy and learn from many authors and genres. You will see orderly systems for keeping track of student’s work.


    1. What will my child’s literacy learning look like?

    Children learn to read by reading and to write by writing. Your child will have an uninterrupted reading workshop and writing workshop every day for about an hour each. Your child will also have a language and phonics/word study block every day to learn more about the important skills of phonics and spelling and how to apply them to his/her reading and writing.


    1. How will the Literacy Collaborative help my child?

    South Hadley Public School teachers and administrators work to create classrooms in which all children enjoy reading and writing and make strong gains in literacy achievement. The goal is for your child to develop competency, and as importantly, to experience the power and joy of reading and writing so he or she will become an independent, lifelong learner.


    1. What can I do to support my child’s language and literacy learning?

    Talking helps children learn to think and express themselves in ways that carry over into reading and writing. You can help by making time to talk with your child and by being a good audience for your child’s experiences, including his or her efforts in reading and writing. Sharing stories and experiences of your own will encourage your child to talk about his or her stories.


    Learn what the teacher’s expectations are for your child’s regular assignments in reading and writing and how much time they are expected to take. You can be supportive by providing a quiet space, limiting distractions like television and electronic games, and helping your child arrange his or her time so assignments can be completed.


    Reading aloud to children is the single most important thing parents can do to ensure children’s continuing success in school and to encourage them to become lifelong learners. Whether you are reading to your child or your child is reading independently or with you, the experience should be positive and enjoyable. Enjoy the pictures and talk about what books make you think about. When reading together, notice what your child can do well rather than focus on fixing mistakes. Use specific praise to admire the ways your child is becoming better at reading and communicating. Enjoy the knowledge that reading and writing is making your child part of a wider world, and learn what you can from your child about that journey.


    Check out our suggestions of Do’s and Don’ts for more ideas on how to help your young reader: http://www.southhadleyschools.org/Plains.cfm?subpage=983493



    1. Whom can I contact at Plains for more information about the Literacy Collaborative? 

    We have a literacy leadership team that meets monthly to provide guidance for the implementation of the Literacy Collaborative. At Plains, the Literacy Collaborative Team includes, Hank Skala, Taryn LaRaja, Dee McWilliams, Maggie Dyer, Renee Cote, Kristene Schwantner and Kathy Goodale. Please reach out to any member of the Literacy Collaborative Team with comments or questions. You can also read more about the Literacy Collaborative at http://www.literacycollaborative.org/model/