1st Edition

A Principal's Guide to Literacy Instruction

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ISBN 9781606234723
Published January 12, 2010 by Guilford Press
193 Pages


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Book Description

This succinct, engaging book explains how busy elementary school principals can support effective literacy instruction in their schools. Chapters outline the fundamental components of a successful literacy program and describe specific practices that can instill a culture of literacy in a school. Strategies are provided for initiating a professional development program, understanding and using appropriate assessments with students, involving parents in literacy education, and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of teachers’ instructional methods. Drawing from the authors' extensive experience as principals and teachers, the book’s numerous examples demonstrate what strong literacy leadership looks like in action. Helpful reproducibles are included.

Table of Contents

1. What Makes Good Literacy Instruction

2. Establishing a Literacy Culture in School

3. Building a Professional Development Program: An Essential for Success

4. Encouraging Authentic Assessment

5. Reaching Out to Families

6. Knowing Your Staff

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Carol S. Beers, EdD, is Executive Professor in the School of Education at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She has held a variety of positions in education during her career, including that of classroom teacher, principal, reading supervisor, assistant superintendent, superintendent, and tenured professor. Dr. Beers has consulted nationally and internationally, presented frequently, and published widely. She has served in several capacities with the International Reading Association. Dr. Beers has received Fulbright Awards for study in Japan and Germany, a Blue Ribbon Award for her work as a principal, an Honor Award from the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and several research awards from universities at which she taught.  


James W. Beers, PhD, is Professor of Reading, Language, and Literacy in the School of Education at the College of William and Mary. He is also Director of the Eastern Virginia Writing Project of the National Writing Project, which trains teachers to help their students become better writers. Dr. Beers has taught reading, writing, and spelling to students at all grade levels and has published books, chapters, and articles on reading, writing, and spelling.


Jeffrey O. Smith, EdD, is Division Superintendent in West Point, Virginia, a school district that continues to be recognized for the students’ high academic achievement. He has worked as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and principal, and as an assistant superintendent in the area of instructional services. Dr. Smith’s combined experiences have provided him with the opportunity to work as an instructional leader in rural, suburban, and urban educational settings from 1,500 to 32,000 students. Additionally, he has served as Adjunct Professor at Old Dominion University. He has received numerous honors and has been featured at the state and national levels for his students’ achievements, his community leadership, and his work as an educator.


Because of the current emphasis on student achievement and accountability, principals need to be familiar with reading theory, assessment, research-based strategies, evaluation, and family literacy. This book touches on all of these facets of instructional administration in an inviting manner. The authors describe obstacles that administrators may face in establishing a culture of reading in a school, and identify valuable possible solutions.--Jodi Nichols, MEd, Instructional Leader, Garrett County (Maryland) School System
In this era of unprecedented accountability, school principals must be prepared to provide strong and focused instructional leadership in the key area of literacy instruction. This book offers practical insights into how principals can do just that.--Travis W. Twiford, EdD, Educational Leadership Program, School of Education, Virginia Tech

A delightful, timely guide. The authors draw on both research knowledge and practical experience to cover this important topic in a fashion that will be most helpful to today's educators. In addition to serving as a day-to-day resource, this book will be a useful staff development tool at the school- or districtwide level.--Larry E. Hixson, EdD, Superintendent (retired), Franklin County, Virginia
The book presents a clear roadmap for creating and sustaining a balanced literacy program. The authors illustrate the critical importance of skilled leadership for building a culture of collaboration that supports a literacy-rich environment. Principals and other administrators who seek to implement positive change in a school will find this to be a thought-provoking read. It is a practical, theory-based guide that features a wealth of ideas and exemplary resources.--Liz Beckhouse, MA, EdS, Principal, Stonehouse Elementary School, Williamsburg, Virginia