The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 23, 2004


Literacy specialists give Carlisle students a boost

Literacy Specialists Susan Helenius- LaPorte and Donna Clapp gave a very complete presentation to the Carlisle School Committee meeting Wednesday, January 7 on their roles as literacy specialists in the Carlisle School's language arts curriculum. The report showed the strong collaboration of the two teachers and how seamlessly the two move between students and teachers within the school's classes.

Donna Clapp commented that they begin working with students in the latter half of the kindergarten year to improve the literacy skills for all the children as well as for the struggling students. The goal is to help all the students develop strategy skills to become readers. As collaborators and consultants in the school system, they offer resources and provide demonstrations to teachers in the classroom as well as meet regularly with speech and SPED faculty.

Working with students within the classroom, the two literary specialists become an important link with the administration, parents and teachers. Thus they are able to provide curriculum support so that students can build on language skills from one grade to the next. For example, in the grade one writing workshop curriculum plan students are exposed to personal narrative, poetry, books and the meaning of writing. By grade five the students are able to write their own memoirs, know the steps of the writing process, write book reviews and achieve skills in writing themselves.

CSC Chair David Dockterman said the two teachers are able to touch every child. "Even in Carlisle there are struggling readers." They provide preventive measures, enabling children to learn and read before becoming involved within the SPED Department. Nicole Burkel said she was impressed with the collaborative aspect of the two teachers and how much the team approach helps in the classroom. "Reading skill touches every other skill. If a student cannot [read] it is a roadblock for everything else he or she does."

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito