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Lancaster Central School District

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District News

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Researchers Help Lancaster, Regional Educators Focus On Reader Development

Members from the University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI) team spent a week at Lancaster High School in October to provide professional learning for close to 85 of Lancaster’s K-3 faculty, along with some William Street School reading specialists, and all four elementary building principals. Other attendees from around Western New York were teachers from Clarence, Williamsville, Orchard Park, Grand Island, Tonawanda, Ken-Ton, Stanley G. Falk School, and BOCES.

The UFLI’s approach is firmly grounded in the science of reading, encompassing the extensive research conducted by reading experts on how the brain learns to read. The primary focus of the UFLI training was to assist teachers in delivering explicit and systematic phonics instruction, as well as enhancing language comprehension skills for all K-3 students.

The elementary faculty are embracing this important work as they seek to close learning gaps associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The training also aligns with the Comprehensive District Education Plan’s goal of ensuring that all K-3 students are reading at grade level by 2026. The district’s plan also underscores the commitment to ongoing training and professional development for teachers, specifically in the realm of reading instruction and its effective application in the classroom.

Complementing the training, Lancaster’s K-3 buildings are actively involved in a book study titled “Shifting the Balance: 6 Ways to Bring Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom” by Jan Burkins and Kari Yates. As educators, the elementary faculty remains dedicated to staying abreast of the latest research and integrating it with their teaching practices to ensure that every K-3 student leaves their elementary school with a solid literacy foundation.

This article was initially published as part of the 2023 Lancaster Winter Newsletter. Read the full newsletter here.

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