21C recently received support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and UPS to establish a Language and Literacy Component for the School of the 21st Century program.
As is the case with schools around the country, 21C educators are interested in helping students become better readers. Many have come to us for help and this gave impetus to our establishing the Language and Literacy Component.
We began by working on language and literacy in early childhood and the primary grades. However, we soon expanded this effort to include language and literacy in middle childhood, an area that has not, to date, received much attention. Although our work focuses on 21C schools, we expect that the 21C Language and Literacy Componentwill be of interest to educators in other schools. We will explore ways to make the component accessible to a broader audience.
Since language development and literacy strategies differ as children develop, our efforts on early literacy and middle childhood literacy are separate, but both share common goals:
- To assure that 21C school leaders make informed choices about the type of language and literacy programs that they select .
- To help 21C educators implement language and literacy programs effectively and efficiently; and
- To assist 21C educators as they enhance parents' involvement in promoting children's language and literacy skills.
Two separate National Panels of Advisers were convened to guide us in our work. The Panels’ tasks are to recommend and discuss criteria for the selection of language and literacy curricula and other instructional and resource materials, and to suggest curricula strategies and materials for more in-depth review. The criteria and recommended materials will inform the development of descriptive and program databases and training guides that we are developing.
The National Panel of Advisers:
Shelby Miller served as an initial Project Director for the Early Literacy Project. She was also a member of the Early Literacy National Panel of Advisors. In addition to 21C's own Matia Finn-Stevenson, other members are:
- Heather Callister: Abell Foundation
- Sunday Taylor: Consultant on Literacy
- Michael Levine: Executive Director, Asia Society
- Norma Meek: Educational Support Coordinator, Summit Elementary
- Patty Schumacher: 21C Senior Associate
- Sheila Smith: Research Scientist, New York University
- Sheila Sussman: Consultant, Literacy, Inc.
- Mary Jennings: Principal, Hart Magnet School
Middle School Literacy
Michelle Albright is Project Dihcallister@baltimorecp.orgrector for the Middle Childhood Literacy effort and a member of the Middle Childhood National Panel of Advisors. In addition to 21C's own Matia Finn-Stevenson, other members are:
- Lyn Hogan: 21C Senior Associate
- Ron Fairchild: Center for Summer Learning, John Hopkins University
- Jim Hinson: Superintendent, Independence District
- Elizabeth Birr Moje: Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, University of Michigan
- Jo-Anne Pearcey: Teacher / Literacy Coach, Jefferson Elementary
- Carl Hampton Rasco: President and CEO, Reading is Fundamental
- Patty Shumacher: 21C Senior Associate
- Shelia Smith: Director, Best Practices in Early Literacy Project, NYU
- Sunday Taylor: Consultant
- Tish Thomas: Principal, Monticello Elementary School
- Jennifer Walker: Director, Youth Developmental and Education Independence School District