The goal of recent teacher training in Schenectady is to be boosting reading skills and literacy. Teachers have discovered that when they get students to sit in small groups and discuss a book they have read, a lot goes into helping them develop the ability to have constructive conversation about the book.
"How do we get kids to talk about books, so they are deeply engaged — so they are going to a deeper level," said Linda Doud, a reading specialist at Central Park Middle School. "We need to teach kids to do that; we can't expect them to know how to do that on day one."
Last week at Union College, Doud and her colleagues from elementary school fourth through sixth grade classrooms took part in the district summer literacy institute for teachers. In addition, a second group underwent training for kindergarten through third grade classes at Schenectady County Community College.
Teachers worked in small groups with reading specialists to plan how to build up students abilities to discuss books. They will introduce students to book clubs in the fall and model discussions, with video. After the students become accustomed to the groups, teachers can pull back more.
There is a broad effort to boost literacy skills in the district, and the training is part of that. It will continue throughout the year.