The Reading and Writing Project offers workshops and on-site professional development for administrators, teachers and paraprofessionals who work in a variety of contexts and offer varied levels of Special Education services. Workshop teaching offers all students an opportunity to work on their independent levels while allowing multiple pathways of student progress toward higher level literacy achievement. Students benefit from direct instruction in one-to-one conferences and in small groups, and also from belonging to a community of learners—one that works together to pursue deeply significant shared goals. We hold close the belief that for all students, including and especially those labeled with special needs, literacy development is the result of authentic reading and writing in tandem with strategic and targeted instruction. For those reasons, our staff developers work with teachers of inclusive classrooms, collaborative team teaching classrooms, push-in and pull-out resource support, and separate self-contained classrooms to differentiate units of study in both reading and writing workshops so that all students can be a part of this rich literacy work.
Our staff developers with expertise and credentials in Special Education lead the whole organization’s work with instructional issues that impact children with IEPs, and simultaneously strive to expand their own understanding and knowledge through close work with major leaders in the field of Special Education who work in other departments and centers across the college. In turn, they share with the entire staff the field of education’s latest knowledge on instructional methods for students with learning differences and for students who struggle. In our work with schools, Project staff help administrators, teachers and paraprofessionals find ways to tailor instruction in general, and the workshop model in particular, to meet the unique challenges and to provide the additional supports needed by students labeled with disabilities. Staff developers know that students with differing needs require differing levels of support. We strive to support schools and teachers in this difficult, yet rewarding, work.
Some of our professional development for teachers who work with students with special needs addresses topics such as: how to unpack the “bends in the road” of reading and writing units of study so as to imagine ways for students with IEPs to participate fully in the workshop; ways to use technology to differentiate instruction and the products students create; how to make the best use of parallel teaching; station teaching, and more as methods of teaching groups of diverse learners both in inclusive and general education classrooms; how to support read aloud partnerships and clubs in which children with IEPs can practice and rehearse before entering the larger discourse; how to make best use of all the adults’ time in a CTT classroom; and, how to teach all students to become independent readers and writers. Click here for a full list of workshops on students with IEPs.