Leaders of Literacy
By WV Campaign For Grade-Level Reading
Leaders of Literacy Jun 02, 2021
Episode 63: Interview with Jessica Grose
Today, Samantha Statler and Becky Lewis sit down with the 2023 West Virginia Service Personnel of the Year, Jessica Grose. During this interview, we take a closer look at what makes Jessica a successful educator. She also shares some great tips on how she builds positive relationships with her teachers and students along with how she keeps her families engaged.
Episode 62: Interview with Amber Nichols
Today, Becky Lewis and Samantha Statler sit down with the 2023 West Virginia Teacher of the Year, Amber Nichols. During this interview, we take a closer look at what makes Amber a successful educator. Not only does she share some great insight into her classroom practices, but she also shares her passion for education and helping her students achieve success.
Episode 61: The Five R's of Family Engagement
During today’s episode, Early and Elementary Learning Specialists Becky Lewis and Samantha Statler discuss the five R’s for promoting positive family engagement which include: respect, reassurance, responsiveness/relationships, reciprocity, and reflection. Not only do they talk about what each of these five R’s means, but they also share strategies you can use in your classroom to help strengthen each of these components.
Episode 60: Interview with Claire McCoy
In this month’s Leaders of Literacy podcast episode, Becky and Sam continue their conversation around building positive culture and community in the classroom. This is an important task for all educators, and it truly sets the tone for the learning environment for the rest of the school year. Joining them for this conversation is lead Pre-K Teacher, Claire McCoy. Claire shares some great insight on strategies she uses to create norms and procedures in her classroom along with activities for students and families to build a positive classroom community. If you’re looking for new ways to build positive culture and community in your classroom, this episode is for you!
Episode 59: Building Classroom Community and Culture
Tune in to this episode as hosts, Becky Lewis and Samantha Statler discuss the importance of building classroom culture. The resource they use for this episode is the book High Impact Instruction- A Framework for Great Teaching written by Jim Knight. Samantha and Becky walk you through the five recommendations Jim offers in this text which are: co-construct norms with your students, reinforce students when they act consistently with the norms, spread learner-friendly emotions, design a learner-friendly learning environment, and walk the talk.
Episode 58: Teacher Clarity in the Classroom
Tune in to this episode as hosts, Becky Lewis and Samantha Statler discuss teacher clarity. Not only do they discuss what it is, but they also dive into why it is important and how you can ensure teacher clarity in your classroom.
Episode 57: Interview with Janie Merendino
In this episode of the Leaders of Literacy podcast, Early and Elementary Learning Specialists Samantha Statler and Amber Meyers along with special guest, Janie Merendino discuss the importance of number sense and how it can be tied back into literature in the classroom. Janie shares her experiences working in the primary classroom. and also gives insight to how she used mathematics and literature together in her instruction.
Episode 56: Instructional Coaching: Seven Factors for Success
Early and Elementary Learning Specialists Samantha Statler and Brittany Fike reflect on the previous episode where they interviewed Jim Knight. During that episode, Jim referred to his latest publication, The Definitive Guide to Instructional Coaching: Seven Factors to Success, several times. These seven factors include: the partnership principles, communication skills, coaches as leaders, the impact cycle, data, the instructional playbook, and system support. These ladies talk in-depth about each of these seven factors of success and how they all tie together to benefit instructional coaches.
Episode 55: Interview with Jim Knight
Since the pandemic hit, educational leaders are making every effort to develop and implement new strategies to better support educators and students in all areas of education. As a result, over the past year or two, there has been a significant rise in interest around instructional coaching as an option to address these needs.
Early and Elementary Learning Specialists Samantha Statler and Brittany Fike speak with special guest Jim Knight to discuss instructional coaching and how to effectively implement this practice it into schools and classrooms.
Episode 54: Interview with Marian Clowes
Early and Elementary Learning Specialists, Becky Lewis and Samantha Statler have a follow up discussion from the previous episode which focused on expanding student learning through strong community partnerships. To get a closer look at a strong community-school partnership, they hosted Marian Clowes. Marian is the associate director for community leadership at the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation. She is also a key member of the Wood County Reads group that helps to promote learning and literacy in all of Wood counties students.
Episode 53: Building Effective School-Community Partnerships
Looking for ways to build effective school-community partnerships? In this episode, Early and Elementary Learning Specialists, Becky Lewis and Samantha Statler discuss the benefits and importance of forming effective school-community partnerships. Tune in to hear a little more about where you can start on your journey to building effective school-community partnerships.
Episode 52: Summer Learning: How We Can Support You
Join Becky Lewis, Brandie Turner, and J.D. Maue, as they discuss how the Early and Elementary Technical Assistance Center (EL TAC) and Marshall University's June Harless Center can support districts and educators throughout the state with their summer learning programs.
Episode 51: Tips and Lessons from Summer S.O.L.E.
Join Becky Lewis, Brandie Turner, and Christy Schwartz, as they discuss the engaging, hand-on activities that West Virginia Students experienced last year as a part of the Summer SOLE Grant Program. Christy shares tips and ideas that districts can take into consideration as they plan their upcoming summer learning programs.
Episode 50: Interview with Leslie Summers
In this episode, Early and Elementary Learning Specialists Becky Lewis and Danielle Irby interview Leslie Summers. Leslie works in the WVU Extension Office and discusses some of the extended learning services that are available through the WVU Extension Office. Leslie primary focus is on positive youth development by offering programs to Cabell County students.
Episode 49: Extended Learning Opportunities with STEAM
In this episode, Early and Elementary Learning Specialists, Becky Lewis and Danielle Irby, talk with Keisha Runion, the Science, STEAM, Computer Science, and Social Studies coordinator in Early and Elementary Services in the Office of Teaching and Learning at the WV Department of Education about incorporating STEAM into extended learning opportunities. Not only do these ladies discuss the importance of afterschool STEAM programs, but they also provide the latest findings and research in West Virginia afterschool STEAM programs.
Episode 48: Interview with Paula Stewart
In this episode, Early and Elementary Learning Specialists, Sam Statler and Kerri Templeton, are joined by Paula Stewart, an Infant/Toddler Specialist. Paula brings light to the importance of a toddler’s social and emotional well-being. She also shares several strategies a caregiver could use during their daily routine to help foster the learn.
Episode 47: Strengthening School Readiness Skills from Infancy
Not sure how to work on school readiness skills with an infant or toddler? Tune in to hear from three of the Early and Elementary Learning Specialists as they discuss how you can help support language and literacy skills, thinking skills, and even help instill self-confidence in our young learners.
Believe it or not, it is through daily routines with your infant that you can help to build foundational milestones. Reading together, having back-and-forth conversations, and even letting them explore something new are all ways to help the development of very young children. This episode will provide more ideas to enhance the daily routines that result in the development of cognitive, language, emotional, and behavioral skills.
Episode 46: Interview with Melinda Mack
Using project work to integrate early literacy and early math in your classroom may sound like a daunting task, but allowing your students interests to be heard and exploring them more in depth can make learning fun AND engaging. If you have been debating using project work in your classroom, our special guest shares a plethora of suggestions and ideas from her own classroom experiences.
Episode 45: How to Integrate Early Literacy and Early Numeracy
In our previous podcast episode, we discussed the importance of integrating early literacy and numeracy. In this episode, early and elementary learning specialists Becky Lewis, Sam Statler, and Amber Myers discuss the “how” of integrating these two topics as it pertains to early educators and other childcare providers serving children from birth to age six.
Episode 44: Interview with Kristy Ritz
Tune in to listen to special guest Kristy Ritz discuss how community organizations can support families with early childhood development.
Episode 43: Supporting Caregivers with Intentional Development of Early Literacy and Early Numeracy in Young Learners
Both early literacy and early numeracy play an important role in developing the minds of our young children. Even though some may believe that these are two separate concepts, they are naturally connected. Both concepts include spoken and written language, and both are grounded in the foundation of oral language through conversations and vocabulary development. It is critical for community organizations and educators to support parents and caregivers with this understanding of early numeracy and early literacy and how to intentionally work with their young learners to develop these skills.
Today, Becky, Sam, and Brandie discuss the importance of early literacy and numeracy. They also share some ideas on how to partner with families to build and develop those skills within their children.
Episode 42: Interview with Weston Kieschnick
Join award-winning educator and best-selling author Weston Kieschnick along with two of the Early and Elementary Learning Specialists as they discuss the importance of teacher-student relationships. Weston walks us through what relationships really mean when it comes to teaching and learning and how they are truly the foundation for everything that needs to happen in a healthy classroom, school, or district.
Weston reminds us that the single greatest gift we can give a child is a relationship with a caring adult who truly believes in them and the great things they can accomplish.
Episode 41: Building Positive Relationships with Students
Teacher-student relationships are crucial for successful learning, especially after the year everyone has had. As educators, we must be focused on more than meeting the academic needs of our students, but we have to focus on meeting their social and emotional needs as well. As we prepare for a new school year in West Virginia, the shared message is that relationships and the social/emotional well-being of our students are among the top priorities. Although we know the importance of relationships, we often miss discussing the why or the how.
Today, Brittany and Becky discuss the research behind why building strong teacher-student relationships are so important. Educators need to know how they can make sure they are meeting the social and emotional needs of their students. Brittany and Becky talk in-depth about seven habits that give us the "how" behind building those important relationships.
Episode 40: Structured Literacy
It is difficult to have a conversation around English Language Arts instruction without the terms Science of Reading and structured literacy coming up, but what exactly is structured literacy? Structured literacy is a way that all students can acquire literacy skills through lessons that are direct, explicit, appropriately sequenced, systematic, cumulative, and intensive. Each of these elements is crucial for our young learners as they begin their journey as readers. Not only is it important for teachers to address all components of literacy, but the focus of structured literacy aligns almost perfectly with the WV College and Career Readiness standards for ELA at the elementary level, which are broken into five different domains: Early Learning Foundations Reading, Writing, Speaking/Listening, and Language.
Today, Becky Lewis switches gears as Maggie Luma interviews her about structured literacy. Becky shares from her previous experiences as a classroom teacher while also sharing research surrounding the topic. She gives great examples of how the different elements that characterize structured literacy work together to help teach our young readers and how her experiences have also helped her have a deeper understanding of what structured literacy is.
Episode 39: Big Heart World
To succeed in school and in life, children can’t just be little mathematicians, readers, and scientists; they need to grow confident in themselves; they need to understand others, and they need to work together with others to solve problems. Educators and pediatricians often refer to this set of skills as “social and emotional” skills and this social and emotional learning (SEL) is a vital part of children's learning and development. It's the process of developing a healthy identity, understanding and managing emotions, making friends, and making responsible, caring decisions that make the world a better place.
Today, Samantha and I discuss Big Heart World.org which is a website initiative produced by Sparkler in collaboration with Noggin, that enables parents, caregivers, and educators to help children explore what it means to have a “big heart” and how to grow one.
Episode 38: interview with Dr. Richard Cash
Every year students enter our classrooms with issues or events that have impacted their executive functioning and ability to self-regulate. The COVID-19 pandemic will likely exacerbate this issue and educators are likely to see a sharp increase in students this fall that will struggle with the ability to self-regulate. In order to combat this issue and set students up to be successful at the start of the school year, educators will need to be aware of the tools that they can equip their students with to focus and pay attention, keep their emotions in check, adjust to change or handle the frustration that comes with interacting with others or learning new things.
Today Brandie Turner and I are speaking with Dr. Richard Cash to discuss the basics of self-regulation and where educators can begin to build self-regulation practices into their classrooms.
Episode 37: Interview with Alyson Kangisser and Jessica Watt
Our students enter our schools and classrooms with more on their shoulders and hearts than we realize. Supporting their mental health is a crucial step in helping them lift this weight, but it can seem like a daunting task for any educator. Collaborating with other staff within our buildings can be a great way to make supporting and developing positive mental health practices in our classrooms more manageable and intentional.
Sara Hutchinson and I sit down with school counselors, Allyson Kangisser and Jessica Watt, to discuss their roles, as well as how they collaborate with classroom educators within their schools to plan and implement intentional mental health practices that benefit all students.
Episode 36: Supporting Mental Health in the Classroom
Student mental health is currently a big focus in education. But what do educators need to know about mental health and where can they begin?
Sara Hutchinson and I sit down to discuss these questions and more as we focus today’s conversation on the West Virginia Tiered System of Support with a specific focus on supporting mental health in our schools and classrooms.
Episode 35: Interview with Darlene Dingess-Adkins
Planning for extended learning opportunities is an important task that our district leaders and community partners engage in annually; however, with the impact on learning that the COVID-19 pandemic has had, it is critical to ensure that these extended learning opportunities are rigorous, engaging, and meaningful to support students’ learning recovery.
Today, Brittany Fike and I sit down with Darlene Dingess-Adkins, a fellow West Virginia Educator from Logan County, to discuss how Logan County has created a unique extended learning opportunity that supports learning recovery.
Episode 34: Summer Learning Recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on education and student learning. With the uncertainty of how much learning loss has occurred, how can districts, community partners, and educators ensure that summer programming is effective in helping students recover from the pandemic?
Today, Brittany Fike and I sit down to discuss the latest research on planning and implementing effective extended learning programs to support student learning recovery. We will also be joined by Christy Schwartz, a coordinator at the West Virginia Department of Education to talk about an exciting grant opportunity to support creative and unique summer programs in West Virginia.
Episode 33: Interview with Vanessa Harlow
The Science of Reading is not a new idea, but it is currently trending in the literacy world today. What are some examples of how district leaders and educators can take the science from the Science of Reading research and apply it to their schools and classrooms?
Today, Maggie Luma and I sit down with fellow West Virginia Educator, Vanessa Harlow, to discuss some ways that Grant County Schools has been doing this over the past several years.
Episode 32: The Science of Reading
Science and Technology have contributed to many advancements in the way we live, learn, and work. One such advancement is the science behind how we develop as readers, known as the Science of Reading. The research and knowledge behind the Science of Reading have been gaining more and more attraction in the world of literacy education. But what does it mean and what implications does this have for educators?
Today, Maggie Luma and I sit down to discuss these questions regarding the Science of Reading as well as some key takeaways for educators.
Episode 31: Interview with Amanda Peyton
In education, family engagement and family involvement are often used interchangeably; however, the distinction between these two terms is crucial to understand how to build strong, meaningful partnerships with parents and families.
Today, Blake Turley and I sit down with fellow West Virginia Educator, Amanda Peyton, to talk more about parent and family engagement. Amanda provides a great perspective on the difference between involving families and engaging them, along with some simple yet impactful examples of how McDowell County educators are building strong partnerships with their families.
Episode 30: Interview with Milagros Nores
Engaging parents and families and working to create strong partnerships is an important way for educators to enhance the overall well-being of the children in their classroom. During the recent unprecedented times we have experienced, the home-school connections and the strength of these partnerships may seem compromised. But what does the research say?
Today, Blake Turley and I sit down with Milagro Nores from the National Institute for Early Education Research to discuss family engagement. Join us as we talk about the research findings regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and early childhood education, along with the lessons that have been learned about the role of family engagement.
Episode 29: Interview with Dr. Doug Fisher
Engaging students in learning is a complex process that involves many different elements that are intricately woven together. Balancing these various elements can at times be overwhelming, regardless of the environment in which learning is taking place.
Listen as Dr. Doug Fisher joins the conversation today to talk about some of these elements and shares tips focused on how educators can promote student engagement.
Episode 28: Wonderfully Unexpected Moments of 2020
It is no secret that the 2020 school year had its fair share of challenges. However, teachers across our state have experienced a number of “wonderfully unexpected” highlights over the course of the past year as well. This very special bonus episode is not only a celebration of the one-year anniversary of this podcast, but also a celebration of the unexpected but certainly cherished moments West Virginia teachers have reported despite the very unfamiliar teaching and learning environment brought upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Episode 27: Student Engagement During Remote Learning
Engaging students in a remote learning environment is a new challenge for many teachers. In this episode, fellow Early Literacy Specialist, Samantha Statler, joins me to discuss the importance of student engagement. We talk about how teachers can monitor and promote student engagement in non-traditional learning environments by adapting some familiar strategies that are used in face-to-face lessons.
Episode 26: Interview with Dan Torres and Cathryn Miller
It is never too early to begin supporting the healthy growth and development of a child. The first years of a child’s life are a period of incredible growth and development. By building relationships as well as social and emotional skills, caregivers can promote healthy brain development and set the stage for future learning success.
Today, Brandie and I are fortunate to sit down with Dan Torres, Senior Program Manager at the Bezos Family Foundation, and Cathryn Miller, Deputy Director for Save the Children West Virginia to continue our discussion on building foundational interactions to support child development. Listen as Dan and Cathryn share simple tools and tips that caregivers of young children can incorporate into their daily routines to begin developing these positive interactions from birth.
Episode 25: Building Foundational Interactions to Support Child Development
Building foundational interactions with young children is not only crucial to their development but it is also vital for future success. Building these foundational interactions to support a child’s development is not only limited to parents and caregivers but successful development of these foundational interactions is also dependent upon the types of interactions that young children receive from child-care centers, preschool teachers, and any adult who interacts with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Today, fellow Early Literacy Specialist, Brandie Turner, joins us on the show to discuss why foundational interactions are so important to support child development. We talk about easy ways that we can foster these interactions during everyday routines.
Episode 24: Interview with Silas KulKarni
Currently, educators are trying to balance the issue of remediating skills that resulted from last spring’s school closures with teaching grade-level content. It can seem like a daunting task but there’s hope. Accelerating student learning is the key to helping teachers balancing these two issues as well as making the overwhelming task manageable.
In this episode, Christy Schwartz and I will be continuing our conversation on accelerating student learning. We will be getting insight and advice on this critical topic from educator and social entrepreneur, Silas Kulkarni.
Episode 23: Accelerating Student Learning
Educators across West Virginia are continuing to face challenges surrounding the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on education. The biggest challenges are addressing the unfinished learning that occurred as a result of the school closures while also ensuring that students are mastering current grade-level skills and standards. When we pair these two challenges with additional obstacles such as changes in the instructional environment, social distancing measures, and the more traditional provocations that educators face, it is easy to conclude how overwhelming it is for educators to find a starting place and begin developing a plan to aid in tackling each of these challenges. How do you know where your students are academically? When should you assess? What exactly is acceleration, and how can you use it in your classroom?
Today, I am talking with Christy Schwartz to discuss the answers to these questions and more regarding the importance of student acceleration in the classroom.
Episode 22: 21st Century Skills: A Close Look at Communication
We navigate our world through communication. Our lives are largely impacted by our ability to effectively communicate with others both locally and globally. With advancements in technology, we find ourselves redefining and refining what it means to effectively communicate. With a heavy emphasis on communication world-wide, effective communication skills are even more important for our students to develop now than ever before.
Today, Sara Hutchinson and I are going to conclude our four-part miniseries on 21st-century skills by taking a close look at communication and how educators can help to develop effective communication skills in the classroom.
Episode 21: 21st Century Skills: A Close Look at Creativity
The world around us is currently enveloped in innovation. Everyday modern technologies, medical advancements, and improvements are being developed at a rapid pace. The individuals behind these innovations are undoubtedly creative likely because they were taught and actively encouraged to approach problems with their different perspectives How can educators ensure that they are helping their students develop this creative mindset?
Today, Sara Hutchinson and I are joined with Lene Jensby Lange, an educational consultant from Denmark, to continue our conversation surrounding 21st-century skills by taking a close look at creativity and how teachers can stimulate creative, innovative thinking in the classroom.
Episode 20: 21st Century Skills: A Close Look at Collaboration
Currently, our world is grounded in innovation which has created a workforce that is team-oriented. This has made collaboration a desired skill for employers to seek out in potential employees, which in turn makes it a critical skill for our students to develop for the future.
Today, Sara Hutchinson and I are joined with Lene Jensby Lange, an educational consultant from Denmark, to continue our conversation surrounding 21st century skills by taking a close look at collaboration and how teachers can nurture collaboration in the classroom.
Episode 19: 21st Century Skills: A Close Look at Critical Thinking
In recent years, our workforce has changed at a rapid pace. In order to adapt to these changes, the world has realized that our students need to be prepared for the careers of tomorrow. The focus in education has adapted to reflect this realization and out of this, the 21st Century Skills were identified. What exactly are these skills? What makes them so crucial for future careers? How can we address these skills within a COVID-conscious learning environment?
Today, I am talking with Sara Hutchinson, the K-5 English Language Arts Coordinator in the Office of Early and Elementary Learning at the West Virginia Department of Education, to discuss these questions regarding 21st Century Skills and to begin examining the 21st Century Skills that are known as the 4 C’s.
Episode 18: Interview with John Lydon
Cultural responsiveness is a critical component to achieving educational equity and it is easily left out of many conversations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges faced by marginalized students have intensified, making it even more prudent to address this inequity now. Developing cultural awareness is the first step that we can take to ensure that we are providing all students with challenging and empowering learning experiences in this ever-changing landscape.
Today, Brittany Fike and I sit down with John Lydon, Director of Academics at Polaris Charter Academy in Chicago, to continue our discussion on equity and culturally responsive education.
Episode 17: Contrasting Realities
Right now, our world is full of contrasting realities and those differences will be evident in classrooms across West Virginia this fall. In order to improve the way in which we do “school” and to counterbalance these vastly different realities, educators can begin building their knowledge base about the educational inequities that students face. Today, Brittany Fike and I have a conversation centered around culturally responsive education and what educators can do to address educational inequities.
Episode 16: Interview with Bailey Cato Czupryk and Kate Glover
Today Brandie Turner and I are talking with Bailey Cato Czupryk and Kate Glover from the non-profit organization TNTP, about Summer Learning Loss and the projected effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on those losses.
Episode 15: Effects of Covid-19 on Summer Learning Loss
Today I am talking with my colleague and fellow State Early Literacy Specialist, Brandie Turner, about Summer Learning Loss and the projected effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on those losses.
Episode 14: Interview with Dawn Miller
Interactive read alouds are one of the most powerful practices that both educators and parents have to increase children's vocabulary and knowledge about the world. Today, I sit down with Read Aloud West Virginia's Executive Director, Dawn Miller, to discuss how this organization is spreading the practice, power and magic of interactive read alouds across West Virginia.