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Stepping Stones

The reading achievement of elementary students is a national concern, and classroom teaching alone cannot account for the high degree of variability in students' reading achievement. At the same time, a packaged set of commercial materials (often referred to as the basal or core program) is but one element of a comprehensive schoolwide reading program.

A reading program is greater than the sum of its parts. Critical elements found in the reading programs of effective schools include the following:

  • Leadership
  • Staff organization
  • Curriculum materials
  • Time management
  • Cultural contexts
  • Assessment
  • Professional development
  • Communication
  • Parental involvement

By doing a thorough evaluation of your school or district reading program, you will be able to identify your most specific needs so that training, allocation, coaching, and leadership have the most efficient impact on student literacy achievement.

Pinpoint Improvement

Stepping Stones is a new multidimensional resource that provides assistance to school improvement teams that need to evaluate their school literacy program. This valuable resource, which is currently undergoing pilot testing in schools, includes the following:

  • An observation tool that focuses on scientifically based reading instruction;
  • A booklet that guides school improvement teams through the analysis of data collected from the observation tool
  • A professional development workshop for improving teacher knowledge

Using Stepping Stones, our literacy experts can provide comprehensive training and support for schools seeking to evaluate their literacy programs. We help principals, teachers, coaches, district administrators and support personnel learn how to conduct self-studies of their programs, materials, curriculum, instruction, assessment, data use and professional development. This gives schools the tools they need to pinpoint areas for improvement in their literacy programs.

To learn whether Stepping Stones can help you, contact Gaye Zarazinski at 800-356-2735 or

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