Friday, May 25, 2018


SOEL Teacher Research Presentations

On May 22, 23, 24, Study of Early Literacy teachers presented their year long action research projects around an aspect of their early literacy instruction aligned to the Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy.  

SOEL impacts teacher motivation and engagement in improving literacy instructional practices.

You can see all teacher presentations HERE and view snapshots of many in the video below. All SOEL teachers and their colleagues should be proud of the work SOEL teachers have done and presented this year! If you are interested in joining SOEL, attend SOEL SI August 1, 2, 3!

IDLL Practices in Disciplinary Literacy 

Inquiry into Disciplinary Literacy and Learning teachers and guests spent the day on May 16  digging deeper into disciplinary literacy practices in social studies, science, math and ELA.  IDLL will continue work next year by aligning current lesson plans and building new units specific to disciplinary literacy.  If you are interested in joining IDLL, come to our summer institute!  

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


SOEL 3 - Writing Instruction in Early Literacy

SOEL teachers observing Mini-Lesson and Conferring
The Study of Early Literacy, cohort 3, has a focus on writing instruction, Essential #6 of the K-3 Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy. Our April meeting was spent on Learning Walks in SOEL classrooms, specifically looking at Writer's Workshop.  Thanks to SOEL member Jennifer Miller for hosting our day! 

Literacy Learning Opportunities for All! 
 *See linked flyers for all information/registration

Thursday, April 5, 2018


Dr. Ernest Morrell on Building Powerful Family-School Literacy Connections

On March 13, we welcomed Dr. Ernest Morrell back for a third session this year on Every Child a Super Reader.  This time, Dr. Morrell led participants through a thoughtful planning session on building and sustaining school-family literacy.

Upcoming Learning Opportunities

Saturday, March 3, 2018


SOEL 2 with Dr. Gina Cervetti on Science Integration in Literacy

On February 28th, the Study of Early Literacy 2, welcomed Dr. Gina Cervetti from the UM SOE.  Dr. Cervetti believes we (educators) should support the development of KNOWLEDGE (not just isolated skills) through extended investigations and experiences, units of study, and conceptually focused reading. By combining what we know about literacy instruction with the NGSS, knowledge building will be the focus, as it should be.  SOEL looks forward to working with Dr. Cervetti next year in writing science/literacy integrated units, in line with both NGSS and The Essentials of Instruction in Early Literacy. 


  • March 13, SOEL 1 welcomes Dr. Ernest Morrell on Every Child a Super Reader at EMU. 
  • August 1, 2, 3 SOEL Summer Institute  (Save the Dates, more info. to come) 

IDLL at Millcreek MS- Disciplinary Literacy and Inquiry Based Learning

On February 21, the Inquiry Into Disciplinary Literacy and Learning was hosted by member Melanie Dever at Millcreek Middle School. Melanie and Ethan from Huron HS, led us through a process of thinking about what it takes for teachers to teach disciplinary literacy (as opposed to reading and writing in the content area), that disciplinary inquiry is about constructing and communicating knowledge, and this instruction is defined as supporting students' specific literate practices in the discipline for the purpose of disciplinary inquiry. 

Join IDLL!
  • May 17th at UM on the future of Disciplinary Literacy-contact Melissa Brooks-Yip if interested.  

March (and EVERY month) is Reading Month 

Are you looking for some new titles for YOU and the diverse readers in your classroom?  

Like book lists?   Follow me on Twitter!    @melyiplit 

Friday, February 2, 2018


 What are Teachers Reading? 

Teachers in The Study of Early Literacy (SOEL) 3 are reading Write Now! Empowering Writers in Today's K-6 Classroom by Kathryn Ganske.  With a focus on writing instruction, Write Now! details:
  • What writing instruction should look like in the age of high standards
  • The power of mentor texts to teach narrative and informational writing skills
  • Strategies for teaching argumentative and persuasive writing
  • Vision, choice and identity in motivating writers
  • Multi-genre projects to integrate social studies and science

Upcoming Literacy and Technology Professional Learning

IDLL hosts Dr. Liz Kolb on Learning First, Technology Second

March 22 at Huron High School, Ann Arbor
Hosted by the Inquiry into Disciplinary Literacy and Learning teacher network-  all are welcome! 


Learning with technology doesn't happen because a specific tool “revolutionizes” education. It happens when proven teaching strategies intersect with technology tools, and yet it's not uncommon for teachers to use a tool because it's “fun” or because the developer promises it will help students learn.
Learning First, Technology Second offers teachers the professional learning they need to move from arbitrary uses of technology in their classrooms to thoughtful ways of adding value to student learning.
*About the Author:  Liz Kolb is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan. She is the author of several books, and the creator of the Triple E Framework for effective teaching with digital technologies.

Dr. Ernest Morrell on Every Child a Super Reader

SOEL and Responsive Mathematics once again host Dr. Ernest Morrell on March 13th at EMU.
Register HERE
Dr. Morrell will continue working with participants around the 7 Strengths Framework, on how to foster:
  • belonging
  • curiosity
  • friendship
  • kindness
  • confidence
  • courage
  • hope


  • August 1, 2, 3:  SOEL Summer Institute at WISD- for educators focused on PreK- 3 (with a focus on early literacy instruction and the PreK-3 Essential Instructional Practices) along with Teacher Action Research.
                 Pre-register HERE

  • August 21: EdCamp as WISD- for all educators

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Are you ready for World Read Aloud Day

Lit World believes everyone in the world should get to read and write. On World Read Aloud Day (WRAD), people around the world read aloud together and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right. 
Download your resource packet here that includes how to host a WRAD event, decorations, spreading the word, a read aloud guide and tips on connecting with authors. 
Please share your WRAD celebrations on social media!

Upcoming Professional Learning

Questions?   Contact Dr. Cathy Fleischer

*Note, the Learning First, Technology Second workshop with Dr. Liz Kolb that was cancelled on December 14th is RESCHEDULED for March 22 at Huron High School.   If you can no longer make it, please contact Cheryl Taylor at 

If you'd like to attend on this new date, you can register HERE


Friday, December 1, 2017


What Are We Reading? 

SOEL 2: Reading Instruction in Early Literacy

No More Reading Instruction without Differentiation by Lynn Bigleman and Debra S. Peterson.

In SOEL 2, where our focus is PreK-3 Reading Instruction, this text guides us in learning targets and performance tasks, student self assessment, project based learning goals and individual learning goals.  Teachers are taking their learning from this text and applying it to their teacher action research question around small group reading instruction in their classrooms.

IDLL: Inquiry into Disciplinary Literacy and Learning
Learning First, Technology Second: The Educators Guide to Designing Authentic Lessons by Liz Kolb

This text guides us in every discipline around the Triple E Framework for time-on-task learning, using technology for authentic learning experiences, appropriate tech integration and lesson planning.   Author Liz Kolb will join us in the next IDLL meeting on December 14th-  everyone is welcome.

Upcoming Professional Learning

Check out the many virtual courses offered now!  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Professional Texts in Literacy Networks

SOEL is reading Every Child a Super Reader

Part of our professional learning networks involves reading at least one practitioner book per year.  This year SOEL 1, focused on Equity, Engagement and Motivation, is reading Every Child a Super Reader by Pam Allyn and Ernest Morrell.    
Every Child a Super Reader is geared toward K-8 teachers and is organized around a strength based framework, detailing the seven strengths inherent in super readers: belonging, curiosity, friendship, kindness, confidence, courage, and hope.  Listen to the authors speak on the importance of a strength based (vs. a deficit model) instructional framework.

SOEL and Responsive Mathematics is hosting Dr. Ernest Morrell again on January 18th at EMU. Everyone is welcome. See our flyer for details. 

IDLL is reading Argument in the Real World: Teaching Adolescents to Read and Write Digital Texts

Every day, our students are inundated by information—as well as opinions and misinformation—on their devices. These digital texts influence what they buy, who they vote for, and what they believe about themselves and their world. Crafting and analyzing arguments in a digital world could be our greatest possibility to improve dialogue across cultures and continents… or it could contribute to bitter divides.

IDLL hosted Dr. Hicks on October 26th to learn teaching strategies and tools for crafting arguments in our digital world, such as StoryMap.  Follow our learning here.

Upcoming Professional Learning

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Literacy Networks Start Strong! 

Saline High School Hosts IDLL

The Inquiry into Disciplinary Literacy and Learning network kicked-off the year by meeting at Saline High School. Through a tour of the school, including the culinary arts and automotive technology programs of the South and West Washtenaw Consortium, our group saw examples of disciplinary literacy in action. Shelly Venema, IDLL member and Saline HS teacher, also presented on the district wide literacy goal of speaking and listening.   

Join us when IDLL meets next on October 26th at WISD to host Dr. Troy Hicks on Argument in the Real World: Teaching Adolescents to Read and Write Digital Texts

SOEL 1: Equity, Engagement and Motivation 

  Musical artist, educator and professional vocalist Imani Gonzalez visited the Study of Early Literacy network on October 3rd to present Building Reading Comprehension Through Sound and Rhythm.  Ms. Gonzalez taught SOEL teachers the Soundscape process- using sound and rhythm to explore ways to develop reading comprehension strategies and make connections between music and language. This learning process will help students attend to sensory images, use questioning strategies, respond to inference, and determine importance, helping students develop a better understanding of the text. Through Soundscapes, children will develop listening skills through collaboration, build interpretation and oral presentation skills through communication, and improve reading fluency through creativity.

Upcoming Literacy Professional Learning 

Monday, September 18, 2017

K-12 Literacy Updates

Elementary Literacy

  • SOEL- Study of Early Literacy, now has our own website.   Check here for our history, articles, Teacher Action Research examples, photos, and eventually, lesson plans.  
  • Do you have questions about the Third Grade Retention Law?   Check out this GUIDE  I keep updated.  This was updated today with new IRIP information. 
  • The Essentials in Literacy Instruction for PreK, K-3, 4-5, Building, and Coaching, can now all be found in one PDF document HERE.
  • Are you registered for the MEMPSA Literacy Summit at WISD?   It's October 4th and features Dr. Nell Duke and Dr. Pat Edwards.  Register HERE.

Secondary Literacy

  • Did you know that the grades 6-12 Discipline Specific Essentials are coming soon?   Stay tuned for more!
  • IDLL - The Inquiry into Disciplinary Literacy and Learning network is going strong!  We are meeting in area schools this year, as well as hosting experts at WISD.  This fall, join us September 28th at Saline HS, and October 26th at WISD with Dr. Troy Hicks on Argument in the Real World-  Register HERE.