Teaching Early Literacy Remotely

How do you teach a K-3 student to read remotely? Join the experts from REL Northwest to learn about implementing evidence-based early literacy practices in a remote learning environment, including family engagement and support practices for early learners. 

Primary Audience:  K–3 teachers in Alaska

Our Presenters

Marybeth Flachbart, Ed.D., provides technical assistance to schools, districts, and states to build capacity for literacy and school improvement. Marybeth provided support to State Education Agencies through the Northwest Comprehensive Center. She has worked with educators in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas. Marybeth served as president and chief executive officer of Neuhaus Education Center in Houston, Texas, a non-profit think tank for literacy solutions. She served as Deputy Superintendent of Student Achievement and School Improvement at the Idaho State Department of Education, taught at Boise State University, and directed Idaho’s Reading First Program. Previously, she taught in the Houston Independent and Deer Park Independent School Districts, where her classroom experience included ten years of both general and special education. In addition to reading, her research interests include systemic educational reform, digital literacy, and language acquisition. Marybeth holds an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Boise State University and an M.S. in special education from Fairfield University.  She is a certified academic language therapist and a dyslexia specialist.

Webinar Sessions

Session 1 - Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding

October 12th from 3:45 - 5:00 

The research on effective distance learning for young readers is in the early stages. However, we do have a body of evidence that identifies the critical elements of early literacy. The challenge for teachers is how to ensure that regardless of the format (face-to-face or virtual) students are receiving a strong start. This first session will be based on Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding, a practice guide from the Institute of Education Sciences. Marybeth Flahcbart will provide a summary of updates included in the 2019 revision to the IES practice guide and review/share strategies to build oral language, print awareness, phonological awareness and decoding in both face-to-face and virtual environments. It will also be an opportunity for participants to share promising practices with one another as they practice what they learn in the training.

Session 2 - Family Engagement Around Early Literacy

October 19th from 3:45 - 5:00  

This session will focus on family engagement strategies to support early literacy. Marybeth Flachbart will share strategies from Tips for Supporting Reading Skills at Home (Foorman, Beyler et al., 2016), from the Institute of Education Sciences, and Supporting Your Child’s Reading at Home, from Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast (n.d.). Given the uniqueness of Alaska, the session will also include a panel of Alaskan practitioners who will share their successful efforts in partnering with families.

Session 3 - Catch Them Before They Fall 

October 26th from 3:45 - 5:00 

Participants will be trained to identify specific areas of reading difficulty by building their understanding of a comprehensive assessment system (screener, diagnostic, progressive monitoring, and outcome) and key indicators of risk (low language/low decoding). Using a framework (language comprehension + decoding = comprehension, created by Gough and Tunmer (1986) participants will be trained to low at the underlying causes of reading difficulty. The facilitator will also discuss assessments used in Alaska in preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1 through 3—such as TS GOLD (Teaching Strategies, n.d), the Alaska Developmental Profile (Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, n.d.b), and MAP (NWEA, n.d.)—and how those assessment domains are connected to decoding and language comprehension. In addition, participants will use learning from the training to brainstorm solutions to identify key reading milestones using other indicators such as the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy, aimsweb, or Imagination Station (Istation) Reading.