FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do English learners benefit from Reading Apprenticeship? LEARN MORE
  • What is the most effective form of Reading Apprenticeship professional development? LEARN MORE
  • What funding sources can help pay for Reading Apprenticeship professional development? LEARN MORE
  • What curriculum or teaching materials should I use? LEARN MORE
  • Will I have to cover less content in order to fit in Reading Apprenticeship? LEARN MORE
  • How long does it take to become comfortable using Reading Apprenticeship? LEARN MORE
  • How important is ongoing support, for example, monthly PLC meetings? LEARN MORE
  • Will mathematics teachers benefit from Reading Apprenticeship? Gym teachers? LEARN MORE
  • Can I do Reading Apprenticeship by myself? LEARN MORE
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Do English learners benefit from Reading Apprenticeship?

Students who are English learners encounter the English language from a problem-solving stance by necessity. Reading Apprenticeship also approaches the English language from a problem-solving stance, but by design. You could say that English learners get exactly the kind of literacy support they need most. For example, in two randomized controlled studies of Reading Apprenticeship, English learners or students who speak languages other than English at home had robust, statistically significant gains on standardized achievement tests in reading comprehension, English language arts, and biology.

English learners make these kinds of gains because Reading Apprenticeship addresses learner dispositions as well as literacy. Teachers are primed to build from students’ strengths, to encourage collaboration and community, and to “normalize” the struggle that comes with effortful reading—for all students.

Academically, students undertake a literacy apprenticeship in which metacognitive conversation is the key. Teachers model thinking about their thinking as they read, and students learn likewise to make their thinking visible to themselves and others. Language is at the heart of this kind of learning. For all students and particularly for English learners, talking with others is a powerful way to work out one’s thinking.

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What is the most effective form of Reading Apprenticeship professional development?

Secondary. In middle school and high school, schoolwide professional development means students have continuous, class-to-class support for the Reading Apprenticeship routines that build a problem-solving approach to literacy and learning. Expectations that students will spend in-class time reading, writing, and investigating their thinking are reinforced across the school site. In this kind of mutually reinforcing community effort, teachers and students can all accomplish more.

When schoolwide professional development is not possible, teacher leaders or department members often choose to attend open-enrollment institutes, where they participate in cross-curricular and subject-area teams.

Community College. Reading Apprenticeship 101, the six-week online introduction for community college faculty, is very popular. It is a pragmatic way for individuals and campus teams to learn about Reading Apprenticeship, try it out week by week, and get timely feedback from classmates and instructors about these first-hand experiences.

At the same time, a number of 101 participants describe the value of complementing or following up the online course with FIGs or other regular in-person ways to support their Reading Apprenticeship practice.

Two advanced Reading Apprenticeship courses for college faculty help them become campus coaches or take a leadership role in spreading Reading Apprenticeship on their campus.

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What funding sources can help pay for Reading Apprenticeship professional development?

Secondary. Several federal categorical grants for “High-Quality Professional Development” can be applied to Reading Apprenticeship professional development: Title I, Part A; Title II, Part A; Title III, Part A; Title V, Part A; and Title VII, Part A. Some schools may also have access to School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds.

District personnel may want to contact their area Field Services Consultant to discuss plans and funding in greater detail since this person is usually the first to approve such funding proposals.
Districts may also divert some of their own professional development funds to high-need schools when no other external resources can be found.

Community College. Colleges that have federal grants, such as Title V or Title III, find that these are a good source of support for Reading Apprenticeship professional development.

In California, the statewide Reading Apprenticeship Project, funded by the California Community College Success Network (3CSN), provides scholarships for community college teams that want to build a campus Reading Apprenticeship community. In other states, sometimes a statewide entity such as the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) or Washington’s Workforce Development Councils can offer support.

At an institutional level, because Reading Apprenticeship can be used to help colleges develop initiatives related to supplemental instruction, first-year experience, embedded remediation, or acceleration, funding can be found within a college’s own professional development budget. Likewise, Reading Apprenticeship is a strong support for colleges working to meet accreditation criteria, and a good investment in a successful process.

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What curriculum or teaching materials should I use?

With Reading Apprenticeship, the curriculum remains in your hands. Use the subject area materials that provide the strongest content match for your students. The Reading Apprenticeship approach helps you integrate literacy and subject area learning, with whatever materials you choose.

On the other hand, if you can offer students an academic literacy course, the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy (RAAL) course includes three units of teacher and student materials—in literature, history, and science. The course is a two-semester sequence that introduces increasingly complex text and increasingly sophisticated support for subject area literacy.

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Will I have to cover less content in order to fit in Reading Apprenticeship?

Anticipate spending two weeks or more establishing a climate of intellectual safety and inquiry in your classroom, and getting students used to the idea that they are in the process of becoming very engaged in their own learning. This learning will include regular time in class doing reading and writing and solving reading and comprehension problems.

The time spent initially and across the term will come back in deeper student learning and increased personal engagement. Teachers report that on balance they are able to cover the same content—only with better student outcomes in confidence, literacy, and content knowledge.

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How long does it take to become comfortable using Reading Apprenticeship?

Within the first six weeks of implementation, most teachers find a few Reading Apprenticeship routines that work best for them. The challenge then is to internalize the Reading Apprenticeship framework so that implementation doesn’t plateau at an “activity” level, but becomes a way of thinking about instruction generally. This usually requires ongoing support in the form of staggered professional development over the course of a school year.

RAISE, our largest research project to date, has 10 days of professional development support built into a 15-month calendar, and schools are encouraged to provide monthly PLC meetings with a Reading Apprenticeship focus. In RAISE, evaluation of student learning anticipates that students will have had a Reading Apprenticeship-trained teacher in two successive years. The assumption of evaluators is that the benefits of Reading Apprenticeship are most likely to mature after teachers (and students) have at least this much experience and support.

For districts and school sites that want to develop internal capacity for deepening and spreading Reading Apprenticeship practice, a comprehensive three-year plan is recommended.

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How important is ongoing support, for example, monthly PLC meetings?

Again drawing on our RAISE research, we find that teachers are solidly in favor of monthly department meetings in which they can troubleshoot and deepen their understanding of Reading Apprenticeship approaches.

At the college level, some of the strongest Reading Apprenticeship implementation results are on campuses where faculty interest groups (FIGs) provide a structure for ongoing support.

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Will mathematics teachers benefit from Reading Apprenticeship? Gym teachers?

Yes. Teachers of all subjects benefit. That’s why we recommend a schoolwide approach to Reading Apprenticeship. It is interesting to note that at both the secondary and college levels, some of our biggest fans are mathematics teachers. The Reading Apprenticeship approach to challenging text gives students a confidence-building entrée to math content they might otherwise give up on. And if you’re curious about Reading Apprenticeship in gym class, coach Mike Madsen explains how his football players transfer their Reading Apprenticeship skills to science class.

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Can I do Reading Apprenticeship by myself?

If you are curious about Reading Apprenticeship, a good place to start is with our book Reading for Understanding: How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms. The book’s clear explanation of the Reading Apprenticeship framework and its many classroom close-ups and instructional tools can get you started thinking about and trying out key Reading Apprenticeship routines on your own. The book also makes an excellent choice for a professional book group or learning community, if you find yourself wanting company.

You can also register to attend various professional development offerings on your own. At the secondary level, try a three-day introduction to Reading Apprenticeship. And it’s not unusual for community college instructors to take the online 101 course as singletons from a campus.

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