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Smart Step Literacy Lab

The Literacy Lab Project is a rigorous 14 day staff development designed for all teachers (content English/reading/language arts, resource), media specialists and principals of students in grades 4 - 12. The training covers a two-year period. Seven days in year one cover the material and research needed for teachers to implement a reading workshop environment in their classrooms that aligns with CCSS. Those days address the need for creating engaging literate environments in classrooms, as well as instruction in motivating fluency and comprehension strategies. Seven days in year two are designed to instruct teachers to use assessment as the driver of instruction and to implement writing workshops aligned with CCSS writing standards in their classrooms along with vocabulary and word study instruction.  An additional benefit of the project is acquiring graduate degree credit.

Year I is equivalent to RDNG 636 - Literacy Strategies for Fluent Readers (3)
Year II is equivalent to RDNG 648 - Content Literacy (3)

Both courses can be applied to a Master's Degree in Reading.

The Goal of the Program

The goal of the project is to fully implement a model of instruction that is effective in developing teaching that supports student learning and CCSS standards. It is not to be used as an “addition to” piece for teachers. Though no controlled quantitative experimental study has been conducted, evidence from the observation of the large number of fully implementing schools and classrooms shows significant increases in student achievement in the areas of fluency, comprehension, motivation, and vocabulary development as measured on state NRT’s and CRT's.

Program Schedule

Literacy Lab requires a two-year commitment. It consists of seven days of training each year. Both years are broken into three days of training in the summer and two days of training in both the fall and spring.

Year I - Smart Step Literacy Lab

Day 1 - The uniqueness of adolescent literacy; our five goals for adolescent readers; the role of motivation; creating engaging literate cultures; CCSS guidelines.

Day 2 - The role of access to appropriate reading materials; educating students’ choices; CCSS text complexity

Day 3 - The role of and research into reading practice; the reading workshop classroom– elements (independent reading, guided reading, literature study) and procedures; CCSS alignment and reading standards

Day 4 - Fluency instruction in a reading workshop environment; designing, maintaining and perpetuating classroom libraries

Day 5 - Introduction to Comprehension Strategy Instruction; review of research and identification of the strategies and best practices in teaching; Gradual Release of Responsibility Model; CCSS reading standards

Day 6 - Modeling of Comprehension Strategy Instruction; done with actual classes of students

Day 7 - Modeling of Comprehension Strategy Instruction; done with actual classes of students

Year II - Smart Step Literacy Lab

Day 1 - Assessment and its implications on teaching practice; learning to administer the Flynt-Cooter Informal Reading Inventory (fluency and comprehension); Motivation and Engagement Assessment.

Day 2 - Learning to administer the Developmental Reading Assessment 4-8 (fluency, comprehension, access to appropriate text, motivation); PARCC and other CCSS aligned assessments

Day 3 - Writing Workshop Classroom - elements (independent writing, guided writing, and investigations) and procedures; the teaching of craft in context; goals for adolescent writers

Day 4 - Argument writing; CCSS writing standard 1

Day 5 - Informational reading/writing; CCSS writing standard 2

Day 6 - Narrative writing; CCSS writing standard 3

Day 7 - Vocabulary/word study; CCSS language standards


To see the required texts for the Lit Lab please review the following list of required texts (PDF).

To register for Lit Lab, please fill out both the Registration Form (XLS) and the Commitment Form (PDF).

Contact Information

Smart Step Literacy Lab Classroom Project
HU Box 12254
Searcy, AR 72149-2254
Ph: 501-279-4092
Fax: 501-279-4506


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Fax: 501-279-4051

Mailing Address:
Harding University
College of Education
Box 12254
Searcy, AR 72149-5615