When you walk into one of our CLI Model Classrooms™, one of the first things you’ll notice is the walls. Chances are they’ll be covered with strips of paper, each displaying a different word. Oftentimes, you’ll even be surprised at the complexity of the words in even the youngest classrooms — words like “fiasco” and “adventuring.”
Many elementary classrooms use these “word walls” as a way of building and reinforcing vocabulary, and they are a key component to our instructional model. But word walls are only as good as the effort put into them. If they are a static bunch of vocabulary words copied from a textbook, they will get lost amid the clutter. If they’re not updated as students encounter new words, they will lose the ability to engage. And if they don’t reflect the real-world conversations students have in the classroom, they will never become the building blocks of a living language that students feel a part of.
We hope this blog will function in much the same way as these word walls—as a living, breathing conversation that sheds light on CLI’s work and the people it touches—students, teachers, and entire school communities. We will share our work and the work of the schools we’re involved in, as well as shed light on the broader thinking about how young children learn and are taught to read. We hope that in time this word wall will become part of a two-way conversation; one in which CLI hears from people passionate about making sure our youngest children can become capable, confident readers and learners.
Welcome, then, to our blog. We hope you find it enlightening and inspiring.