We spoke with Leah Eller, a Kindergarten teacher at Green Valley Elementary in Denver, CO about her experience with CLI and why our partnership with teachers is so important.
How has Children’s Literacy Initiative training impacted your early literacy instruction?
The training that I have received from Children’s Literacy Initiative has helped me really target the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) while creating a meaningful message/connection that students are able to understand and apply through my Intentional Read Alouds (IRAs). Through my IRAs I have been able to create a positive classroom culture that cultivates fun, collaboration, language acquisition, and an inspiration for the love of reading. Through consistent coaching and collaboration, my students and I have really found a love for reading where students are excited to gather around and learn through a read aloud.
What have you learned from Children’s Literacy Initiative one-on-one coaching?
I have learned that you can create and use mentor texts that students love. When returning to a text, students can gain a deeper understanding of complex texts because the content is familiar and they can connect their learning to the standards.
What Children’s Literacy Initiative best practice (e.g., Guided Reading, Message Time Plus) has benefited your early literacy practices the most?
Definitely IRAs; through coaching, professional developments, and collegial visits, I have learned to create better Read Alouds.
How have your students responded to your Children’s Literacy Initiative training and coaching?
I have seen an increase in student engagement, passion for reading and learning, and more student successes when demonstrating their knowledge. Coaching sessions and trainings have really helped me create objectives that include the CCSS and a centralized message that allow students a chance to understand what they need to know and what they need to do in order to reach the objective.
What’s your favorite children’s book and why?
My current favorite is Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer. The creativity and language play are a great way to increase student vocabulary. I can’t wait to read it with my students and see their receptive and expressive vocabulary increase.
What is the one thing you would share with others about Children’s Literacy Initiative?
With the coaching and trainings that Children’s Literacy Initiative has provided has helped me improve my teaching methods and student successes. Children’s Literacy Initiative has provided me with tools that are easy to use and backed by research. It has also provided me with a network of educators and coaches who share my same passion and are always thinking of ways to put students first.
Without the donations, these successes wouldn’t be possible – thank you! You are truly helping make schools great and helping to inspire future readers and authors!