Professional Development Ideas to Support Literacy Instruction

LITERACY AND THE COMMON COREThis has been a particularly challenging year in our field. As teachers and school leaders continue to wrestle with how best to prepare students to meet and exceed the Common Core Standards, I would like to humbly submit some professional development ideas for the spring, summer, and coming school year.

  • Follow the TLC Blog. If you already do (Thanks!), please tell your friends. It’s free, and it offers updated information on resources and ideas that work.
  • Subscribe to The Literacy Cookbook Website. It’s practically free ($25/year if you use the 50%-off discount code TLCBOOK50), and it includes hundreds and hundreds of field-tested tools to support literacy instruction across the curriculum.
  • Run book study groups to discuss ideas in The Literacy Cookbook (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and/or Literacy and the Common Core (Jossey-Bass, 2014). You can order these books from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookseller.
  • Consider bringing me in for workshops/coaching/curriculum development support. Below is a sampling of what I offer. For a more extensive list of workshops, click here. For a list of previous clients, click here. For my bio, click here. To see an interview with me, click here. If you are interested in learning more, please contact me via Email ( ASAP. My schedule tends to fill up quickly, so the sooner you reach out, the more likely it is that I will be available when you need me.


Using Backwards Design to Write Curriculum Units
This workshop trains participants in how to design unit plans and curriculum overview maps using the Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe) approach. Typical follow-up work includes the following:

  • Participants collaborate to identify appropriate texts from grade to grade and discuss interdisciplinary instructional opportunities.
  • Participants design curriculum overview maps for their grade/subject.
  • Participants design the Unit 1 Plan for their grade/subject, with close supervision and support from the facilitator.
  • Participants continue to draft unit plans and receive feedback and support from the facilitator.

The Comprehension Process and 4 Key Critical Reading Skills
Participants review the comprehension process and apply it; review the four key critical reading skills and practice them; and practice strategies that connect reading, writing, and testing in order to improve literacy instruction.

Designing RPM (Rigorous, Purposeful, Measurable) Objectives
Daily lessons are only as good as their objectives. This workshop trains participants in how to design RPM (Rigorous, Purposeful, Measurable) Objectives, no matter what grade or subject they teach.

From Argument vs. Evidence to Effective Writing
This workshop addresses the following objectives:

  • Review why the terms “argument” and “evidence” are essential to the Common Core Standards in order to establish the rationale for this workshop.
  • Review the difference between “argument” and “evidence” in order to launch activities related to effective writing instruction.
  • Identify and practice the six specific skills that effective writers use in order to teach students how to master them.

Close Reading and Questioning, Parts I and II
Participants participate in a demo lesson using the Question-Inference-Evidence & Explanation Organizer and practice implementing it (script your roll-out & practice in small group mini-demo). Participants then engage in another approach to close reading and questioning the text.

Transforming Common Core Standards into RPM Objectives and Lessons
How can we write objectives and lessons that help our students meet and exceed the Common Core Standards? In this workshop, participants analyze the Reading Standards for Informational Text and learn a process for unpacking the Common Core Standards that enables teachers to design RPM (Rigorous, Purposeful, Measurable) objectives and lessons. Participants practice this approach and take away practical ideas, handouts, and strategies that they can use immediately to accelerate student learning.

Using Tools to Build Effective Assessments: PARCC Reading and Writing Tasks
This workshop walks participants through the process for using PARCC Sample Tests to create Common Core reading and writing assessments for students.

Effective Lesson Techniques: Quadrant Analysis Demo Lesson
By using Quadrant Analysis to analyze images—an important skill to build comprehension—participants review and practice techniques from Teach Like a Champion (Lemov) in order to strengthen overall instruction.

Building Robust Vocabulary
Based on Bringing Words to Life (Beck, McKeown, and Kucan), this workshop trains participants in how to teach vocabulary effectively.

Writing Across the Curriculum: The Document-Based Question (DBQ) Approach
Participants review, analyze, and practice the steps of reading, research, and writing in order to design a reading/research-based writing assignment. This workshop answers the following questions:

  • What is “The DBQ Approach”?
  • How does reading relate to writing?
  • What skills do students need in order to read and write effectively?
  • What should students write about, and why?
  • What do students need to know and be able to do in order to write a compelling research paper?

How to Teach with Novels/Narratives
Using resources from The Literacy Cookbook Website, this workshop provides strategies and resources for how to teach novels (across the curriculum).

Again, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at



About theliteracycookbook

In addition to this blog, I am the creator of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK Website ( and ONLY GOOD BOOKS Blog (, and the author of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
This entry was posted in Analyzing the Common Core Standards, Argument, Assessment(s), Close Reading, Comprehension, Curriculum, DBQ Approach, ELA Common Core Standards, Essential Questions, Events, Evidence, Explanation, Grant Wiggins, Inference, Lesson-planning, Literacy and the Common Core BOOK, Literacy Manipulatives, Literary Analysis Writing, Main Idea, Narrative Writing, Nonfiction, Novels, Paraphrasing, PARCC, Presentations, Professional Development, Quadrant Analysis, Reading, Reading Informational Text, Reading Literature, Research Writing, Resources, RPM Objectives, Socratic Seminars, Test Prep, Text Selection, The Literacy Cookbook BOOK, TLC Website Resources, Trajectory Analysis, Unit-planning, Using Data, Vocabulary, Vocabulary in Context, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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