Sunday, October 3, 2004

GPB and The Department of Education Put Reading First

Georgia Public Broadcasting has joined forces with the Georgia Department of Education to support an important program called Reading First. This initiative, created by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, is charged to prepare young children to enter kindergarten with the necessary language, cognitive, and early reading skills they need to prevent reading difficulties and ensure school success.

It is a foundational assumption of Reading First that literacy is a learned skill rather than a biological "awakening." It follows, then, that children learning to read need the best in terms of early reading instruction to help them succeed. The National Reading First program, which gives grants to support the development of resources to enhance young children's language and cognitive development, has awarded the Georgia DOE a grant to develop and produce research-based professional development programming for reading coaches. Reading coaches that have been given the tools they need to be better and more effective instructors will be better able to meet the charge of improving language and cognitive development.

GPB recently hosted two days of training for Georgia reading coaches, who participated in workshops with other reading and education professionals from across the state to develop best practices that will serve as models for all teachers of reading in Georgia. These two days of professional development were recorded and will be repurposed as satellite and video streaming training modules that, along with a curriculum developed by DOE, can be accessed by educators any time, anywhere.

Additionally, the reading coaches who participated in this special professional development training will take the strategies they learned to their school systems for broader implementation. This "train the trainer" model in combination with distance-learning technology enables GPB and DOE to reach the greatest possible audience, thereby directly affecting the learning of more Georgia learners than would be possible through the traditional face-to-face training model.

To learn more about Reading First professional development opportunities, visit the DOE website at or contact Laura Miller at You may also want to take advantage of the following web resources provided by the North Central Educational Laboratory (NCREL):

* Instructional Leadership: Steering Schools to Reading Success - this site includes leadership guidelines for implementing a new Reading First program, the principals many roles that affect reading programs, and common scenarios that principals face with reading programs.
* SBRR: Your Roadmap to Reading Instruction - this site is designed for schools involved in Reading First, and explains the concept of scientifically based reading research (SBRR) and how it effects classroom instruction.
* Professional Development: Equipping Teachers for the Road Ahead - this site explains the important link between professional development and Reading First and offers guidelines for developing professional development plans.