The Power of Literacy Leaders in Educational Institutions

Change within education is inevitable; thus, if the change is to be transformative it must be backed with sufficient evidence to make sound educational decisions. When speaking of improvements within the field of literacy, it is crucial that instructional leaders use research and data to drive instructional decisions within school-wide literacy programs. Foster (2014) notes, “Teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and feelings of self-efficacy can influence the persistence with which they will attempt new practices and problem-solve their way through any difficulties in implementing new practices” (p.

54). Taking this into account, it is imperative that evidence-based practice is coupled with explicit data in order for there to be a shift in teaching practice. It is the intended goal of this application to pinpoint evidence-based strategies that are both reliable and practical that will have an impact on the transformation of instructional practices and the infrastructure within my school’s current literacy program.

I will summarize the findings of five research articles in order to establish a scientific framework that relates to my current school’s literacy development.

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In moving forward, future applications will further expand upon and utilize these outlined evidence-based strategies to further strengthen efforts as they are related to a previously identified literacy need. As mentioned previously, my school is a K-8 building in a rural area of central Illinois. According to the Illinois School Report Card (2018) we are a homogenous student population with 96.8% of our student body being Caucasian, 46.4% low income, 10.1% mobility rate, and 14.3% of our students have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

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Based upon the results of a previously administered survey, findings revealed several needs related to instruction and the infrastructure within my school’s current literacy program. A specific area in need of improvement fell under the category of teachers utilizing differentiated instruction.

This need spans across a variety of content areas, but in particular, relates to current English Language Arts (ELA) and reading teachers making adaptations within the district’s currently selected reading curriculum. There is a dire need for differentiation to be coupled with ongoing professional development in order for students to access the curriculum and be provided with the appropriate scaffolding of learning based upon their preferred learning styles. Tomlinson originally coined the term differentiation and it is a teaching philosophy that states teachers can differentiate the content they teach, the process by which material is presented, and the products that students produce to serve as illustrations of their learning (Crim, Kennedy, & Thornton, 2013).

Differentiated instruction would not only prove beneficial for our subgroup of underperforming IEP students in meeting their unique learning needs but also accelerate learning for all students by enhancing the present curriculum and providing diverse learning experiences. As previously noted, the graphs within Figure 1 and Figure 2 further solidify this outlined need, as student performance has reached a plateau since the adoption and implementation of a school-wide curriculum across our district. Subsequently, our school has also received a rating of underperforming based upon our students’ academic performance within the area of English Language Arts on this year’s state assessment. Our district also currently lacks a literacy team devoted to improving students’ literacy across grade levels using strategies that are reflective of a common vision. For these reasons, it is the intended goal of researching the aforementioned needs related to differentiation and ongoing professional development to effectively outline evidence-based strategies that can have a lasting impact on literacy development at Atwood-Hammond Grade School.

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The Power of Literacy Leaders in Educational Institutions. (2021, Dec 24). Retrieved from

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