• Exploring the Design Process and Components of an Elementary Literacy Guide in an Ontario School Board Initiative

      Donahue, Krissa
      The skill to identify and use best practices in literacy to promote achievement for students of all abilities cannot be underestimated by elementary educators. This qualitative case study investigates 1 year of a literacy initiative for primary and junior educators organized by a southern Ontario school board. The goals of the initiative were to design a literacy guide for teachers while building teacher capacity with literacy practices. Data were culled and analyzed from an examination of the guide, the meetings’ field notes and artifacts, as well as interviews with the educators at the end of the year. Several themes from the results emerged. The educators perceived the design process as unclear but the collaborative components were deemed valuable. The guide’s incompletion led to mixed reactions from the educators about the guide and its structure. Overall, the first year of the 3-year initiative acted as a catalyst for professional learning on literacy. The findings of this study accentuated the value of training educators to use empirical research to support their practices and professional knowledge. Also, the significance of promoting strong leadership with a comprehensive layout consisting of coherent tangible goals for professional development is highlighted.
    • Promoting Early Reading: A Parent Handbook for Developing Children's Phonological Awareness Using Authentic Activities

      Dunn, Stephanie (2013-09-16)
      The purpose of this project was to create a handbook for parents to develop their children's phonological awareness using authentic activities that parents and children can complete together. The handbook aims to provide parents with fundamental background information regarding phonological awareness as well as effective instruction practices, followed by authentic activities that are clearly laid out and easy to implement. Through a comprehensive study of the literature it became evident that parents should be the target audience for the handbook as they have the greatest influence on the development of their young children. Phonological awareness was also found to be an important contributor to early literacy development including oral language skills and reading. The handbook was reviewed by 2 teaching professionals in order to claim face validity of the document. The results of the project indicate that the handbook which was produced meets its goals of creating a product that is easy to use, practical, and effective for both parents and children. The implementation of the handbook in the home environment can benefit children's phonological awareness and in turn improve their oral language and reading abilities.