Closing the Circle: A Practical Guide to Implementing Literacy Reform, K-12 / Edition 1

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Closing The Circle

Preparing students to meet the literacy challenges of the future is one of the most important goals of education today. This book addresses three major questions: What do we mean by "literacy"? How can it best be addressed by K–12 schooling? And what does it take to get there?

In Closing the Circle, Sean Walmsley offers educational practitioners at all levels—district and school administrators, curriculum supervisors, staff developers, literacy coaches, classroom teachers, and special education teachers—a coherent framework along with practical advice for setting K–12 language arts expectations and for effectively guiding instruction, assessment, reporting, and data analysis. Distilled from the author's extensive experience working with schools and districts, the framework enables educators to prioritize literacy learning and work together more productively to achieve better literacy outcomes for all students.

The innovative framework includes five major elements: (1) a set of clearly defined literacy attributes (concise expectations for what students should know, do, understand, and experience in the language arts); (2) instructional contributions that best support students, including struggling learners, in acquiring the attributes; (3) appropriate assessments for tracking students' progress; (4) reporting practices that clearly explain the progress achieved; and (5) rigorous analysis of data to inform instruction. The model embraces a broad conception of literacy and includes expectations for reading, writing, listening, and speaking as well as viewing and representing, making it especially suitable for learning in the digital era.

Closing the Circle provides concrete guidance for schools and districts interested in implementing all or parts of the framework, which is flexible and adaptable to varied school settings and philosophies. It also provides examples from schools that have implemented the model, including sample report cards.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787996376
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/7/2008
  • Series: The Jossey-Bass Education Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Sean A. Walmsley is professor and chair of the Reading Department, State University of New York at Albany. A former teacher, he has published numerous articles in professional journals, written several books related to language arts, and is co-editor (with Richard Allington) of No Quick Fix: Rethinking Literacy Programs in America's Elementary Schools. He works with schools and districts nationally in implementing literacy and language arts reforms.

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Table of Contents


Preamble: Rethinking Literacy Expectations.

The Author.


1. A New Language Arts Framework.

2. Literacy Attributes.

3. Instructional Contributions.

4. Organizing Language Arts Instruction.

5. Instructional Support for Struggling Students.

6. Language Arts Assessment.

7. Reporting Literacy Progress.

8. Analyzing Data to Inform Instruction.

9. Implementing the Framework.

10. The Promise and Challenge of Literacy Reform.



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