This weekend, representatives from Mason Public Schools’ North Aurelius Elementary presented at the 2019 Annual Michigan Reading Association Conference which was held in Grand Rapids. Carla Viscomi, Phyllis Selleck, Liz Kowalske and Katie Immel, Mason Public Schools grade 2 teachers as well as Christie Lehman, Literacy Coach, presented on the topic of “The Power of Deconstructing, Reconstructing, and Making a Commercially Produced Core Literacy Program Our Own: Fidelity Plus,” at the conference.
The group presented on the idea of using action research, which is research initiated to solve an immediate problem, as a stimulus for putting the teachers’ skills or strategies back into packaged, commercial literacy curricula or programs. The team shared insights and practices that have led to more engaged students and families. The enhancements made to this packaged curriculum include: involving families (introductory letter, ongoing home connections, family nights), identifying literacy standards and critical content, creating context, seeing the big picture and personalizing content to meet students’ needs. The team also shared examples of the practices of using video, student work, photos and other artifacts such as surveys and family letters to accomplish this.
“Often times when teachers utilize a standard, corporate-developed curriculum, students disengage and lose their love of reading and writing,” said Carla Viscomi. “Our team has been working to personalize the curriculum and to engage families in order to help students be excited about learning."