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Citation: Akhavan, Nancy. (2004). How to Align Literacy Instruction, Assessment, and Standards And Achieve Results You NEVER Dreamed Possible. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


Title: How to Align Literacy Instruction, Assessment, and Standards And Achieve Results You NEVER Dreamed Possible
ISBN:
ISBN-13:
Edition:
Year: 2004
Publisher: Heinemann
City: Portsmouth, NH
Medium: Book
Author(s): Akhavan, Nancy
Grades: Kindergarten to Fifth Grade
Category: Mentor Authors and Illustrators and Mentor Texts Standards and Writing Instruction Minilessons Developing Units of Study Teaching the Writing Process Writing Workshop Writing Workshop Components
Annotation: This is one of the most readable and thought-provoking book on standards. Nancy Akhavan tells the story of how her high-poverty California school moved from under the label of “under-performing” to become an exemplary school with a clear dedication to professional learning. It’s the story of how a courageous group of teachers and teacher-leaders asked tough questions and studied together in order to improve instruction and learning. Every teacher, literacy coach, curriculum developer and administrator will find gems to help envision how standards can be used not as a limitation, but as a foundation for solid literacy instruction and assessment. She writes, “Standards are a place to stand, a solid foundation on which to build a successful curriculum and literacy program that teaches children in ways that ensure their academic success” (p. 46).

Chapter Two focuses on the theories, schedules, structures, and routines that underpin solid instruction during reading and writing workshop. Nancy then moves into discussions about standards and instructional planning, balancing precise instructional planning with the needs of individual students. Chapter Five zooms in specifically on Reading Workshop which occurs in all classrooms from 60-90 minutes each day. Her chapters include student work, sample lessons, anchor charts, parent letters, photographs, and classroom stories from different grade levels so that reading workshop springs to life. She does the same thing in the next chapter for Writing Workshop. In Chapter Seven, Nancy explores how to create a curriculum calendar of units of study for the year, along with anchor minilessons and anchor texts for each unit. The day-to-day minilessons are developed responsively, based on the anchor plans, student work, and student needs. She then includes sample units of study for several grade levels. Chapter Eight is about Language Workshop for linguistically diverse students with a focus on explicit instruction through “talk-about” time (grades K-2) and book inquiry (grades 3-6).

Nancy Akhavan writes: “Teachers who instruct through constructivist pedagogy use standards as connectors to understand their students. They create student-centered classrooms and connect children to learning by actively engaging children in meaning-making activities that encourage students to develop new knowledge and understandings based on their current knowledge. Teachers working effectively with standards focus on the learner . . . not the subject or content to be taught” (p. 10). She lists seven standards-based principles: be precise in your instruction; assess each child’s strengths; know and understand the standards; think small; plan backwards from the standards to student learning; teach through authentic literacy work; teach children to think critically.