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Our Story:

What we did to Integrate Literacy in All Facets of

our High School
Presenter: Leah Hover Preiss
High School Mathematics Teacher
Poynette High School

Poynette School District

4K-12 grade district

1,143 students

Increasing literacy is a
district initiative:

2016-17 District Goals


Increase literacy in all its forms

Increase ability in 21st century skills
Maintain a systemic and sustainable
professional development program
(From the Poynette School District Website)

My Background:

Certification in
mathematics, history, and
broad field social studies
Seventh year of teaching,
sixth year at Poynette
Completed a MEd in 2011
with a thesis focusing on
incorporating content area
reading in math
Currently completing my
dissertation as a
requirement for a
Doctorate in Education

Although I had dedicated

my life to learning and
education, I did not feel
fulfilled or excited about
it anymore so I wanted to
explore something new.

Literacy Initiatives= Excitement for All

Attending 2015 conference:

Team of diverse school

Attended different breakout
sessions to make sure we
covered all material
Brainstorming meeting after
conference with attendees
and district administration

What we learned:

There were many ways to

incorporate literacy in our
school with minimal cost
Ideas could be integrated
across the district and age
levels with simple
Many members of our school
district were excited about
these initiatives

First Question:
Who was going
to lead the

Someone who is passionate

about the topic
A teacher who students and
other faculty members
respect and will listen to
Key in our district:
Someone outside the
English/Language Arts
curriculum area

Second Question:
How are we
going to
inform the

Introduction presentation
at staff meeting
Introduction Presentation
Individual meetings to
answer questions
Professional development at
staff meetings
Reminder emails and
check-ins to encourage
continual participation

Third Question:
What are we
going to go to
throughout our

We aimed to incorporate
school wide activities, not
just in the ELA classrooms
Encouraged all teachers to
participate, even though it
is optional to do so
Continually changing

Teacher Book DisplaysIdea presented by steven Layne

Need: Sign and book stand (very cheap on Amazon)

Teachers choose a spot in room where students
will see display
Select a book that is age appropriate for

Books students will be reading for another class

Content area books students may be interested

Popular books

Encourage staff to read for 10 minutes a day (or

more if they desire!)and answer student questions
when asked
Every day, your bookmark should be moved and your
book should be displayed!
Students will know they are surrounded by adults
who read and will share about their reading.

Book Talks

Original idea presented by steven Layne

Once every three weeks during study period

Hosted by a different teacher each time
Choose your first teacher wisely!
Spanish teacher, Principal, English teachers, Social Studies teacher
Listen to student suggestions!
Advertised on posters around school and on announcements
Student participation is voluntary and self-selected
Attendance Log
Original goal- 15-20 students, usually have between 40-60 attend
Small snack provided- Funding provided by administration
Other ideas: PTA/PTO, sponsorship from local business, FACE classes

Book Talks Cont.

Teacher chooses a contemporary, age-appropriate book not already in the

Intro and what you love about it (5 mins.)
Read Aloud (15 minutes)
Question and answer (10 minutes)

The literacy coordinator is there to support the presenter to encourage

teachers to participate- coordinator does all the pre- and post-presentation
work, presenter simply presents

Partnership with Local Library

A great resource to get books for students and teachers

Library representative attended book talk to discuss what
the library has to offer and register students for
library cards
Provide books for student check-out during book talks

Check-Out Log

Teacher Facilitated Professional Development

As high school teachers, we often have some
misconceptions about reading and writing:

High school students all know how to write short answer

responses, essays, and explanation questions on assessments
All teachers mean the same thing when they use terms (essay,
proficient or substantial paragraph, short answer responses)
and students understand what these mean
Students know how to find books they like or can use for
It is sufficient to teach reading and writing in ELA courses
and the skills will transfer to other courses

Teacher Facilitated Professional Development Cont.

In order to help students develop into better readers and

writers, a systematic approach should be used across
Students need to recognize the elements of proficient reading
and writing are present in all domains with some modifications.
Teachers can develop:
Common expectations
Common vocabulary
Common assessments
Templates for student use
Research techniques that can be used across the disciplines

Increased writing in all

areas of the curriculum.

Student Literacy Organization

Information survey of student activities
and interests

68% of students read outside of school

42% of students attend the book talks
25% of students share literature with others
30% of students enjoy critiquing the writing of others
39% of students are interested in joining and 32% of
students would like more information about a literary
arts organization

Student Literacy Organization Cont.

Literary Arts Council- taken from the organization proposal

Purpose: The club will integrate literacy and fine arts into the
lives of students outside the classroom.
Intended Outcomes for Students: Increase participation and promotion
of literary and fine arts in the District of Poynette through
student-led activities. Examples: Leading book talks, book reviews in
partnership with Public Library, Community art (murals), presentation
of literature to elementary students, family fine arts and literacy
Participation: The proposed club would be open to all high school
students. There would be no prerequisite of already participating in
fine arts or being enrolled in any high school courses.
Plan of Operation: Interest-based club. Provide structured support
based on individual student literacy interests.

Fourth Question:
How are we going
to inform others
about our work?

Our goal is to have the

entire community aware of
the literacy initiatives
taking place at our school.
Furthermore, we would like
the conversations about
reading and writing in
school to continue when
they go home.

District Facebook Page

Book Displays Outside of the Library


Can include responses from:

What did you read over break?

What is on your summer reading
What is your favorite book?
What is the best book you ever read
in school?
Other staff members
Possibly parents or community

Encourage teachers to talk about

the display with students!

Questions or