is East Bakersfield High School’s second year being involved in R.I.A.P. The teachers who attended the training sessions are fortunate to have a fantastic foundation to build upon, and an administration and colleagues who are supportive of developing students’ content reading skills. Great things are happening at East, including the implementation of the CSU Expository Reading and Writing Course into the 12th grade curriculum.
Foundational Literacy Program
East is in its tenth year of a literacy program and was the first in the District to address this need by creating a separate class for those in need of reading acquisition. In past years of the program, 9th graders, identified through testing, were placed in both a literacy class and an English class. This school year, East piloted the Read 180 literacy curriculum, and the freshmen were placed in two-hour blocks of Literacy and English. Students work on reading acquisition, in addition to writing, reading, and literature studies. East also offers Literacy II for 10th graders who need to continue training and tutoring in reading skills.
Building a Literacy Committee
A literacy committee has been formed whose core participants are the literacy teachers; however, this committee has been expanded upon and now includes representatives from all core academic departments. Our Literacy Coordinator, who has implemented a school-wide vocabulary development program and has organized staff development opportunities, leads the literacy committee. In addition, the Literacy Coordinator has distributed “goodies” to faculty members, including monthly literacy tips and CAHSEE glossary words on card stock.
School-Wide Vocabulary Development
A different “Academic Word of the Week” has been introduced to the staff and students each week, and some of the words have even aired on our school-televised news, “EBTV News.” Teachers are encouraged to expose their students to the vocabulary, and mini-lessons have been created to reinforce the words. The words are based on CAHSEE vocabulary lists and common terms needed for academic study.
Staff Development and Training
This school year, teachers participated in Writing-to-Learn workshops, organized and led by the Literacy Coordinator. The coordinator and participants shared practical tips on how to implement more informal writing into all content areas. These workshops were a good example of cross-curricular collaboration and collegiality.
Principal’s Support through Materials
The principal has ordered Janet Allen’s reference book, Tools for Teaching Content Literacy, Stenhouse Publishers, 2004, for every faculty member. This is an easy-to-read reference in a flip-up type book that offers not only explanations to strategies but also lesson plan implementation ideas.