Appendix: Texas Initiatives for Reading and Writing Instruction

The Texas State Literacy Plan (TSLP) represents the goals and objectives of multiple initiatives implemented in Texas throughout the years. Past and present initiatives have focused on the development of guidelines and standards and the implementation and delivery of evidenced-based language and literacy instruction to children age 0 to grade 12. At present, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) continues to coordinate numerous entities and resources, as well as the partnership among sites and educators, to guide and support statewide literacy efforts.Below are brief descriptions of these state literacy initiatives, beginning with the most recent.

  • Texas Literacy Initiative (TLI): The purpose of this grant is to improve school readiness and success in language and literacy of disadvantaged students in targeted local education agencies and their associated early childhood education providers through coordinated implementation of the Texas State Literacy Plan. The Texas State Literacy Plan presents a framework for the integration and alignment of early language and pre-literacy skills and reading and writing instruction for all Texas learners through grade 12.The Texas Education Agency—in conjunction with the TLI Leadership Team, which includes 20 regional education service centers, the Institute for Public School Initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin, the Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Artsat The University of Texas at Austin—collaborates with Literacy Lines to meet the goals of the TLI grant. A Literacy Line is a vertical collaborative among feeder-pattern campuses within a local education agency and early childhood education providers, which may include Early Head Start; Head Start; public, private, or nonprofit licensed early childhood sites; and public prekindergarten programs.TLI is funded through the federal Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program, authorized as part of the Fiscal Year2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act Public Law No. 111-117 under the Title I demonstration authority (Part E, Section1502 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act).
  • Texas School Ready!™: This is certification for prekindergarten service providers who implement effective prekindergarten instructional models.
  • Student Success Initiatives:
    • Teacher Reading Academies: Beginning in 1999, Texas teachers in kindergarten through third grade classrooms attended four-day academies, providing them with the tools for evidence-based instruction and intervention.In 2002, those academies were introduced in an online format and offered for continuing education credit. In2009, the Online Teacher Reading Academies were updated and extended through grade 5 and now include an administrative overview. The academies were developed through a partnership of TEA, the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, and Education Service Center Region 13, continuing in partnership with the Institute for Public School Initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin.
    • Accelerated Reading Instruction (ARI): Originated by Senate Bill (SB) 4 of the 76th Texas Legislature, ARI provides immediate, targeted instruction for students identified as struggling in reading.
  • Texas Early Education Model (TEEM): This is a partnership among the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, public schools, and private childcare programs for prekindergarten education in language and pre-literacy development. Critical components for replicating the success of TEEM are a high-quality curriculum and instructional materials, intensive and purposeful teacher training followed by mentoring, student progress monitoring to inform classroom instructional practices, and monitoring and evaluation activities that include student performance.
  • Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines: The Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines (revised in 2008) balance research-based teaching strategies and developmental research on how children learn most effectively. These guidelines are designed to help teachers deliver playful, well-planned, and purposeful instruction that will jump-start school success and influence students’ growth throughout their lives.
  • The Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines Web-based Training: This web-based professional development tool orients and introduces educators to the guidelines. Training includes video examples of child behaviors in five domains (social and emotional development, first- and second-language and communication, emergent literacy, reading and writing, and math), and provides instructional strategies teachers can use to support students. Also included are examples of integrated instruction with video of classroom interactions where several outcomes from the guidelines are combined.
  • Faculty Collaborative for College and Career Readiness: In 2008, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, through the state legislature, created the College and Career Readiness Initiative: Faculty Collaborative. The English/ Language Arts Faculty Collaborative is managed through The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at The University of Texas at Austin. The English/Language Arts Collaborative also supports disciplinary literacy in science, mathematics, and social studies.
  • Texas Reading First Initiative: This statewide program was part of the federal Reading First Initiative established through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The federal initiative was designed to help states and local schools implement findings of scientifically based reading research, with the goal that all students achieve reading mastery by the end of grade 3. Funds were dedicated to help states, local districts, and schools significantly reduce reading achievement gaps by establishing research-based, comprehensive reading instruction in grades K–3. The federal initiative also was designed to provide professional development for teachers to implement scientifically based reading programs; to ensure accountability through ongoing, valid and reliable screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring assessments; and to provide technical assistance to local education agencies and campuses.
  • Texas Adolescent Literacy Academies (TALA): In 2008 and 2009, Texas teachers for grades 6–8 had the opportunity to receive professional development in scientifically based reading instruction for adolescents through TALA. Now available online, the academies aim to prepare middle school teachers to design appropriate instruction for all students, including those struggling with reading due to limited English proficiency, learning disabilities, dyslexia, and other risk factorsfor reading difficulties. Included in the academies are a set of training modules on cross-disciplinary vocabulary and comprehension strategies, a diagnostic and progress-monitoring instrument, and guidance for intensive interventions targeting the needs of struggling adolescent readers.
  • Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS): In May 2008, the State Board of Education adopted new state standards, the TEKS for English and Spanish Language Arts and Reading. TEA—in partnership with the Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; the Institute for Public School Initiatives at The Universityof Texas at Austin; the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at The University of Texas at Austin; and theEducation Service Centers—developed and implemented statewide professional development in the new standards.
  • Higher Education Collaborative (HEC) for Reading First: In 2003, Texas provided ongoing professional development and collaborative opportunities for teacher educators who are preparing elementary teachers. Funded through Reading First, this unique initiative involved more than 140 institutions of higher education in integrating evidence-based research and instruction in preservice programs.
  • End of Course Success for English I, II, and III and ESOL I and II: The 80th Legislature mandated End-of-Course (EOC) assessments for freshman, sophomore, and junior English courses and for freshman and sophomore English for Speakers of Other Languages. TEA—in partnership with the Institute for Public School Initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin; the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at The University of Texas at Austin; and Education Service Centers—developed and implemented statewide professional development on the instruction and strategies necessary for student success at the end of each course.
  • English Language Proficiency Standards: These standards address the English language proficiency level descriptors and student expectations for English learners. Implementation of these student expectations is required in all content areas in kindergarten through grade 12.
  • College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS): The purpose of the CCRS initiative is to identify and define the competencies and skills graduating high school students must possess to be successful in higher education and beyond.
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