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Email: ndseec.info@k12.nd.us

3170 43rd St. S. #103
Fargo, ND 58104

Phone: 701.997.2210

Fax: 701.404.5366

Improving Academic Literacy

This 3 semester learning series covers three components with each one being a pre-requisite before advancing to the next component:

  1. Student Engagement
  2. Academic Vocabulary (engagement pre-req.)
  3. Critical Thinking & Comprehension (engagement & vocab pre-reqs.)

The project's goals are to familiarize with and implement research-based literacy strategies that will increase student achievement for ALL learners.

The project focuses on working with a team of "master teachers" from each school to combine research-based strategies with implementation, feedback and coaching.

Building administrators will invite master teachers based on their expertise, leadership abilities and their willingness to be observed and give/receive feedback.


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Cohort Dates and Locations

Student Engagement - Spring 2024

Valley City Cohort

  • Session 1: Date TBD
  • Session 2: Date TBD
  • 2-hour Online Check-in (chose one day): Dates TBD

Registration Not Yet Open

Academic Vocabulary - Spring 2024

Valley City Cohort

  • Session 1: Jan. 16, 2024
  • Session 2: Mar. 26, 2024
  • 2-hour Online Check-in (chose one day): Apr. 29 - May 2, 2024

Register today!

Critical Thinking & Comprehension - Spring 2024

Valley City Cohort

  • Session 1: Jan. 17, 2024
  • Session 2: Mar. 27, 2024
  • 2-hour Online Check-in (chose one day): Apr. 29 - May 2, 2024

Register today!


Danette Brown
Professional Learning Specialist
Improving Academic Literacy Coordinator


Brandie Ulland
Professional Learning Specialist

(Grades K-3, What Works Clearinghouse)

IES Practice Guide, Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through Third Grade. (Shanahan, et al., Sept. 2010)

This practice guide presents five recommendations that are supported by research. The fundamental assumption in this guide is that the objective of reading instruction is to give young readers the tools they need to understand increasingly sophisticated material in all subjects from elementary through later years of school. The practices recommended are therefore not an end in themselves, but the means to developing sound ability in reading comprehension. To be successful, these five recommendations must be implemented in concert, and clearly explained in a rich educational context that includes the following: a comprehensive literacy curriculum, ample opportunity for students to read and write while being coached and monitored by teachers, additional instruction and practice for students based on the results of formal and informal assessments, and adequate resources for students and teachers.

  1. Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies.ow to use reading comprehension strategies.
  2. Teach students to identify and use the text's organizational structure to comprehend, learn and remember content.
  3. Guide Students through focused, high-quality discussion on the meaning of text.
  4. Select texts purposefully to support comprehension development.
  5. Establish an engaging and motivating context in which to teach reading comprehension.

(Grades 4-12, What Works Clearinghouse)

IES Practice Guide, Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices. (Kamil, et al., May, 2014)

This practice guide presents five recommendations that are supported by research. The NAEP data discussed in the overview make it clear that many adolescents lack the robust literacy skills they need for success in school and in the workplace. Many of these students can benefit tremendously when their classroom teachers adjust their instruction in ways that this practice guide recommends. The first four recommendations provide evidence-based strategies that can usually be implemented by regular classroom teachers, those who teach content areas to students.

  1. Provide Explicit Vocabulary Instruction an Use of Academic Language.
  2. Provide Direct and Explicit Comprehension Strategy Instruction.
  3. Provide Opportunities for Extended Discussion of Text Meaning and Interpretation.
  4. Increase Student Motivation and Engagement in Literacy Learning.
  5. Make Available Intensive and Individualized Interventions for Struggling Readers that can by provided by Trained Specialists.