Early Language and Literacy: A Professional Development Series Facilitators Guide

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1 Early Language and Literacy: A Professional Development Series Facilitators Guide I. Introduction AEM Corporation has developed a series of professional development modules on early literacy learning, birth to kindergarten. The series is designed to support the work of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program, Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant and the Preschool Development and Expansion Grant Programs. AEM Corporation encourages early education initiatives across the fifty states and the territories to utilize these resources to support the language and literacy development of young children II. Objectives There are two key objectives for the Early Language and Literacy Series. They are: 1. To provide teachers with background information/research on early language and literacy 2. To provide evidence-based strategies to support the language and literacy development of young children III. Modules There are fourteen modules, each focused on a key element of language and literacy for young children. They are: 1. Overview of the Four Instructional Priorities to Prevent Reading Difficulties 2. Oral Language: A Foundation for Literacy 3. Phonological Awareness 4. Alphabet Knowledge and Print Awareness 5. Shared Book Reading: Considerations of Book, Teacher and Child 6. Dialogic Reading Strategies: Supporting Children s Reading through Shared Reading Practices 7. Building Vocabulary 8. Understanding and Supporting Early Language and Literacy Development of Young Dual/English Language Learners 9. Working with Struggling Learners 10. Writing 11. Leveraging Technology for Preschool Learning 12. Physical Environments to Promote Early Language and Literacy 13. Helping Families Develop Early Literacy Skills in their Young Children 14. Does Early Math Mean Less Literacy and Language? Early Learning Language and Literacy Series

2 IV. Who Should Attend? These modules are designed for professionals who are working with young children, birth to five. Early literacy development begins at birth and is strengthened when intentional professionals build strong relationships that are steeped in rich communication and bookreading experiences. They are further supported as children mature through intentional instructional strategies that expand their language and literacy learning. The 14 webinar-based sessions offer ways for adults to provide all young children with those experiences that embed literacy learning throughout their early childhood programs. Participants may include teachers and administrators from early learning centers, family child care, Head Start, home visiting programs, nursery or preschools, or Early Intervention programs. Students from high school or college-level early education programs can also benefit from the presenters rich knowledge-base and informative presentations. The modules may be used for family education topics as well. V. Format and Suggested Delivery The series consists of 14 webinar-based modules, each of which focuses on one critical topic of children s literacy development and learning. Together, all 14 modules present a comprehensive look at literacy learning for young children and provide the viewers with a strong foundation for supporting children s literacy development in their settings. The modules are numbered to suggest a recommended order for delivery. Each module, however, is a stand-alone session and can be presented to a group independently or in a different order than is suggested. However, it is strongly recommended that Module One be presented first since it provides foundation information for future sessions. Format A nationally-recognized expert presents information in a minute webinar format that includes opportunities to stop the presentation and discuss key points. The presenters biographies are offered in the Facilitator Guide for further reference. Each taped presentation cites the research that supports the information shared. Key publications for each topic and internet sites are provided for those participants or facilitators who want to further explore the topic(s). Practice experiences are embedded within each session. There are several times where the taped presentation will be stopped to permit the participants to discuss the information that has been presented or to work in small groups or pairs to practice an idea from the webinar. These practical application activities maximize the learning experience for participants. Brief videos are embedded within some of these session videos. Facilitators will be able to access them directly from the slide. Early Language and Literacy Series 2

3 Time/Length Each session guide will offer ideas for recommended session length and delivery options to optimize the learning experience. Most sessions are designed to last a minimum of 90 minutes. This allows time to view the minute taped presentation with stops as needed to discuss or explain information that has been presented and to introduce the practical application activities that support participants understanding of these sometimes-complex, yet essential, concepts. The minimum recommendation does not allow for in-depth discussions, time to complete the activities thoroughly, or lengthy large-group reviews of the activities. Facilitators should consider extending the sessions, when possible, to at least two hours to allow for extended small group discussion and large-group share-out in addition to more time for the activities. The follow-up dialogues are often rich opportunities for professionals to learn from each other. Different session lengths may be suggested in the module s Session Guide to accommodate the variations in session materials and resources. Facilitators may also consider a second short follow-up session or phone call with participants to answer questions or explore their thoughts or experiences after the participants have had time to practice some of the new literacy strategies in their early learning programs. The recommended session lengths are considered optimal. If however, time is more limited, showing the video presentations along with abbreviated discussions and activities may be an alternative. If this is necessary, strategies for follow-up discussions are suggested. In the situations when the video presentation extends beyond minutes, the follow-up strategy may need to occur at a later date or time. Delivery Strategies While there is a recommended order for viewing the modules, each can also be watched independently. A program director may determine that some of the sessions have more relevance than others for the program s circumstances, and because of limited time, decide to show a selected number of the sessions instead of all 14. Selection of individual modules, separate from the full series, however, will offer basic information of one aspect of language and literacy development. Further exploration of the other foundational elements is optimal and preferred. The webinar-based modules are designed to be delivered either in a community training venue, in an early learning program, or a higher education setting. Each module should be led by a facilitator who will use the prepared materials, play the presentation and guide the group in their discussion or activities. The modules offer opportunities for the group to participate in discussions and/or practical experience exercises to deepen their understanding of the presented topic. Early Language and Literacy Series 3

4 It is important to note that there is a large amount of content included in each module. Depending on the participants previous experience, a facilitator may choose to concentrate on a specific topic for two meetings, viewing the presentation on the first session, providing opportunities to practice or do additional follow-up experiences in the classroom, family child care home or during home visits, and returning together as a group for a second discussion. VI. The Facilitator Facilitator s Role Facilitators have a critical role in assuring the successful delivery of the literacy series. Facilitators should be early childhood content experts with some basic knowledge about emerging literacy in young children. They should be comfortable with a webinar delivery system for professional development. The facilitator will, personally or with another s help, arrange for a training venue, complete the participation registration and prepare the handouts and other materials. The facilitator will attend each session, lead the group through the presentation, related discussion and activities, and be available to answer additional questions. Facilitators Preparation Initial Considerations 1. Consider your audience. Who will be invited to participate? How will you advertise? How will you register? Will there be mixed groups of providers? 2. Determine the amount of time available for each session of the series. As stated above, the minimum time is 90 minutes per session. 3. Determine if all 14 modules will be presented and when? What is the frequency? Will you present one a month? Will you present one every two weeks? Steps for Session Preparation 1. Download the presentation from the link that is included in the Session Guide. View the presentation. 2. Watch the presentation again, along with the power point slides, to familiarize yourself with the content. 3. Note the places in the presentation where the presenter recommends that you stop for a discussion or activity. Review the activity for understanding. 4. Prepare the activities. Determine how they will be implemented. Will they be small group, pairs, large group or individual? How much time do you anticipate allotting for each? How will the activity conclude? Will there be large group share-out? What materials are needed? For most, handouts are provided. Many need books. What else is needed? Early Language and Literacy Series 4

5 Prepare sufficient numbers of materials for each attendee. 5. Read the additional resources that are included in the Session Guide. Many that have been included have been identified for Facilitators only. They have been selected to give you, as a Facilitator, additional information to guide your module facilitation with confidence. (Facilitators may decide to disseminate the article, or portions of the article, to the group if appropriate). 6. Gather together the needed supplies such as pencils/pens, sticky notes, chart paper and markers, etc. (These can often be compiled into one box that can be used for all 14 sessions.) 7. Identify a few children s books that might be needed throughout the sessions for the activities. (Use your own or gather a group from the suggested list of books). Follow-Up Determine if there is an opportunity for check-ins or follow-up after the presentation(s). Can you bring the participants together again to talk about their applied knowledge in their classrooms, family child care home or home visiting settings? Can you form a community of practice, either informally within the early childhood facility or more formally through a website? Professional Development Credit 1. Identify the types of professional development credit/hours that will be provided. 2. Determine the number of hours (or credits) for each session. 3. Work with an accrediting agency to coordinate the hours or credit award. VII. Materials and Resources A. Facilitator Resource Kit In addition to the video presentations, facilitators will have access to a set of documents that will enhance the delivery of the Early Learning Language and Literacy Series. These resources are housed in Quick Links on the PDG TA website: and include supplemental materials that augment the series as a whole. Facilitators should determine which of these valuable resources will be shared with participants. 1. Presenter Biographies: A summary of each of the presenters current and past work that highlights their breadth of knowledge about language and literacy development is provided. A shorter bio is given at the start of each presentation. 2. Research: Foundational research studies that have set the stage for current practice in early language and literacy instruction are posted in the Facilitator Resource Kit. These documents have relevance across all of the 14 modules. It is recommended that facilitators review these documents and determine if participants would benefit from excerpts or the whole documents. They are: Developing Early Literacy: A Report by the National Early Literacy Panel ; and What Works: An Introductory Teacher Guide for Early Language and Emergent Literacy Instruction. Additionally, NAEYC s joint position statement with the Early Language and Literacy Series 5

6 International Reading Association, Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children is part of the Facilitator s resource collection. The information from these documents provides excellent resources for Facilitators. Excerpts may be appropriate to disseminate to participants. 3. Supplemental Materials: Resources from which participants may benefit are compiled in this section. These include the following: A classroom equipment list An article about literacy development in infants and toddlers A copy of the Kindergarten Common Core Standards for English Language Arts An Annotated List of Children s Books: The Presenters have provided a list of some of their favorite children s books that encourage language and literacy development. Broken down into different types of books, participants may enjoy reviewing this list against their early learning setting s book list. Annotated List of Literacy-based Internet Sites: A host of internet sites are available as resources for literacy learning. This document provides a listing of sites for families, sites for teachers and administrators early learning site usage, and listings of sites for current research and practice. Glossary: The presenters use many literacy-specific terms that are re-defined in a glossary. Facilitators may choose to print and disseminate this hand-out. Sample Facilitator Evaluation: This evaluation will be available for completion via Survey Monkey. Sample Participant Evaluation Sample Certificate of Completion B. Module Tool Kits Each of the 14 sessions in the series will include a packet of materials that will enable the Facilitator, with careful preparation, to comfortably guide participants through the session. Successful training sessions will be those where the Facilitator has utilized the resources with the Module Tool Kit to design the module s training session. This important set of documents includes: 1. Session Guide: The Session Guide provides the details about the presentation, recommended scheduling options, descriptions of the practical application exercises, and offers extension activities. Each session is unique with different presentation lengths and practical application strategies; the guide reflects the specifics of each module and identifies each modules unique considerations. 2. Power point slides: The video presentation s power point slides are provided as background for the facilitator. The slides clearly show where the activities are housed within the session and allow the leader to follow along with the presenter during the presentation. 3. Readings: Divided into two sets, the readings are specified as facilitator readings or participant readings. Readings targeted for the Facilitator offer the research base and provide background information to deepen the Facilitator s understanding of the topic. Early Language and Literacy Series 6

7 These documents are not necessarily meant for the participants, although excerpts may be chosen for distribution, if desired. The participant readings provide foundational information to support professionals on-the-ground application of the module content in their work with young children. 4. Handouts and Activity Masters: Each session offers multiple opportunities for participants to apply the presented information into practice. A set of corresponding handouts has been included in the Session Guide. The handouts may be copied, as needed. The point in the presentation where the activity should occur is listed at the top of the handout. Instructions for ways to present the activity are included in the Session Guide. Some modules also include supplemental resources that may be disseminated to participants. VIII. Professional Development Credit States should determine how professional development hours will be awarded for successful completion of this high quality early language and literacy series. It is recommended that the modules, either individually and/or as the full series, count towards child care licensing and QRIS professional development requirements. The number of training hours will vary depending on the way in which each professional development agency delivers the series. In other words, the number of awarded hours is dependent on the training format, including number of hours allotted for the presentation and follow-up discussion. States or professional development agencies will determine if additional requirements such as homework or group participation are necessary. College credit may also be an option. States may choose to work with a college/university (2 or 4 year school) to articulate the content to a credit-bearing option, adding additional assignments and meeting time as needed. IX. Technology Presentations are located on the Early Learning Language and Literacy Series page hosted at There are two options for accessing the presentation: streaming or download. Regardless of the option used, facilitators should plan to secure a computer, projector, and speakers so that participants can adequately see and hear the presentations. 1. Streaming: This option will rely on the facilitator s direct access to the internet and necessitates a reliable internet connection at the professional development location. At the time of the training, the facilitator will scroll to the appropriate module on the Early Learning Language and Literacy Series page at Click the play button on the presentation video within the Module s section to begin the video. 2. Download: When facilitators use this option, they will need to plan ahead. Prior to the professional development session, facilitators should access and download the presentation material using the download link available in the in the individual module sections of the Early Learning Language and Literacy page at The file must be saved directly to the Early Language and Literacy Series 7

8 computer that will be used to play the presentation, or saved to a flash drive that can be accessed by the computer used at the training site. X. Evaluation and Feedback AEM Corporation would like to hear from you. We are interested in learning about participants response to the sessions and how they have increased their understanding of these important developmental skills for young children. We may also need to consider modifications to the modules based on your feedback. Two Survey Monkey links will be included in both the Facilitator and Session Guides, one for Facilitators and another for participants. We urge you, as a facilitator, to complete the survey after each session and to encourage participants to respond as well. XI. Questions AEM values your role in disseminating this important series about early language and literacy to early childhood professionals. If you have questions or need additional information regarding the modules or delivery strategy, please Kathy Thornburg at or Susan Mitchell at Early Language and Literacy Series 8

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