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Principles & Strategies for Effective Literacy Instruction

By Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D.
Principal, November/December 2020. Volume 100, Number 2.

Proficiency in reading by third grade is crucial to students’ academic and future success—this we know. But with the reemergence of the “reading wars,” today’s school leaders are charged with creating a literacy program that balances phonics and comprehension instruction appropriately for each individual student.

And in light of our national reckoning with race and equity, literacy instruction must be proven by science to help achieve learning standards and address what professor Gholdy Muhammad calls “criticality”—teaching students to understand historical and current-day power structures, (in)equities, anti-racism, and anti-oppression. She argues that in addition to criticality, learning standards should also address identity, skills, and intellectualism. (See page 33 for her article, “Learning Standards for Black Children.”)

In addition to the principles of literacy instruction, this issue of Principal magazine describes innovative strategies to get students more engaged in reading. From text annotation to data chats to recognition initiatives, this issue has you covered. Also check out some of our new departments:

  • Women in Leadership: Maryland principal Ryan Daniel discusses how to prepare for maternity leave and how to transition back into the principalship.
  • Discovery Zone: Learn to build bridges to families during remote learning by engaging parents as co-teachers.
  • Legal Lessons: Get legal guidance on First Amendment protections for employees and supervisors.

And because Principal magazine is developed for school leaders and their leadership teams, be sure to download the latest Leading Lessons staff guide, which will help you take your learning into practice at the school building level.

—Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D.
Reach Kaylen on Twitter @kaylentucker to let her know how you like the issue.

Copyright © National Association of Elementary School Principals. No part of the articles in NAESP magazines, newsletters, or website may be reproduced in any medium without the permission of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. For more information, view NAESP's reprint policy.

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