Introduction: A New School Year, A New Issue of SEDL Letter

Published in SEDL Letter Volume XIX, Number 2, October 2007, Reading: Practices to Help Improve Instruction

We hope your school year has gotten off to a good start! This issue of SEDL Letter focuses on practices that can help improve reading instruction and includes two announcements from SEDL that we think are exciting.

Our regular readers may remember an article last year about the new headquarters SEDL is building in Austin, Texas. We will be moving into our new building in mid-November. Along with the move, we are changing our logo and officially changing our name from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory to SEDL. Though our name will change, our work, people, and mission will remain the same. Learn more about these exciting changes on the back page of this issue.

When we move into our new building, we will need artwork to liven up the place. So we’re holding an art contest for K–12 students. Rules and an entry form are on pages 17–20. Encourage students at your school to enter—this is an opportunity for them to creatively think about and illustrate what education and their future means to them. The winners and other entries will be displayed in the SEDL headquarters.

Now down to business. We begin this issue with a look at study groups, the practice of teachers getting together to focus on instructional practices and student learning. Stacey Joyner, a staff member of SEDL’s Texas Comprehensive Center, discusses how these groups can be structured and how to get them started. Then we will visit New Orleans’s Banneker Elementary School, one of the schools in the Recovery School District (RSD). Banneker students are benefiting from the literacy professional development SEDL is presenting to all RSD teachers.

Teachers aren’t the only adults who can support children’s reading efforts—parents have a big role to play, too. Mike Hall, director of Strong Fathers, Strong Families writes about his organization’s reading nights designed especially for dads and their children. Finally, Ada Muoneke, who works with both of SEDL’s comprehensive centers, discusses Response to Intervention (RtI). RtI is being discussed among educators across the country as a way to strengthen instruction for all students and more accurately identify students as learning disabled. Ada’s article is an overview of RtI—a complex process that deserves careful consideration and study.

Best wishes to you and your students for a great school year.

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