Lexia® Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, announced today that all schools throughout Alabama can now boost literacy instruction via LETRS® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional learning. This professional learning experience provides the knowledge and tools for successfully applying the science of reading in classrooms. The Alabama State Department of Education funding is to support kindergarten through third grade teachers, in addition to Pre-K, administrators, and other support positions that impact K-3 literacy in the state. Educators can earn continuing education units (CEUs) or professional learning units (PLUs).
“This implementation shows Alabama’s commitment to supporting all teachers of foundational literacy,” said Lexia Learning and Voyager Sopris Learning President, Nick Gaehde. “Our LETRS professional learning program has more than a decade of demonstrated success in schools and districts across the United States, and it’s been proving itself in Alabama cohorts over the last few years.”
The Alabama State Department of Education adopted use of LETRS as part of the Alabama Literacy Act, which in addition to providing foundational literacy support, also provides intensive support for the state’s lowest performing elementary schools. Even before the act was signed into law, Alabama was piloting the program with a small cohort during 2018. At that time, 109 participants completed the LETRS for Early Childhood Educators course, and 97.2% showed growth in knowledge. Approximately 200 elementary educators participated in the LETRS Third Edition course during this pilot.
“Alabama is blessed to have a state superintendent, Dr. Eric Mackey, who is committed to providing the funding and support for LETRS Training to all our pre-kindergarten through third grade teachers and administrators,” said Bonnie Short, Coordinator, Alabama Reading Initiative at the Alabama State Department of Education. “Through collaborative efforts with the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, we can work toward a seamless system of literacy instruction. As the leader for the Alabama Reading Initiative, I am excited to have this opportunity to positively impact student achievement throughout the state. When our teachers and administrators are equipped with increased knowledge in the Science of Reading, our students win!”
LETRS addresses four critical outcomes for effective literacy instruction: understanding the science of reading, converting research to practice, enhancing teacher effectiveness, and transforming instruction. Educators can choose from the following courses:
- LETRS for Early Childhood Educators (for Pre and Kindergarten educators)
- LETRS for Third Edition (for foundational literacy educators in grade k and up)
- LETRS for Administrators (for principals and district-level administrators) Leveraging more than two decades of research, LETRS is designed to fill the gaps in language structure and language development that historically were not taught in teacher-preparation courses. The program provides practical support with tools that are available 24/7—online, print, and in-person consulting services—and ongoing support throughout the school year with strategies specific to instruction.
“The most important factor in student success is the teacher,” said Gaehde. “But studies have shown that only 51 percent of higher education teaching preparation programs include the science of reading. Learning to read is incredibly complex, and teaching reading requires a deep understanding of the processes and science behind it. LETRS is an investment in teachers’ literacy knowledge and professional practice, and we’re excited to have this opportunity to support Alabama’s educators and students.”