The five courses that make up the Early Grade Reading Graduate Certificate are:

  1. How Children in Developing Countries Learn to Read – Summer 2017
  2. Systems to Support Early Grade Reading – Fall 2017
  3. Teacher Preparation and Support for Early Grade Reading – Spring 2018
  4. Materials and Technology for Early Grade Reading – Fall 2016
  5. Role of Community and Family for Supporting Early Grade Reading – Spring 2017

Click here for the tentative course schedule 2017-2019.

Courses combine elements of both theory and practice. The readings are drawn from both scholarly journals and in-depth reports on learning, reading, writing and assessment. Participants learn through multiple modalities, including reading research and literature, watching videos, and participating in a mix of individual and small group activities. Individual and group work will invite you to use the readings to reflect upon, write, and share the evolution of your thinking throughout the duration of the course.

Action research is integrated into this course. Through conducting mini action research projects in your own context, you will develop a valuable skill to support your decisions on how early grade reading initiatives can be implemented in different cultural and system contxts. You will seek out information beyond what has been assigned in the course, conduct analyses, design action plans, test your plans, and then reflect upon and revise those plans. This process will occur multiple times during different timeframes but the cycle of inquiry will remain the same.

These are online courses that utilize asynchronous interaction, so you can log in and learn at any time of the day or night. You will primarily learn from the course materials provided online in modules, supplemented by course units that will emphasize, illustrate, and demonstrate key principles about each topic. You will also engage in interactive learning through discussion of course-related topics, group work and the completion of learning exercises.

Reflective writing assignments will help you to personalize the material and see its relevance to your own work. The assignments are cumulative, so that you can get feedback from the instructor and other course participants and then combine your assignments to create your final analysis paper and presentation.

How Children in Developing Countries Learn to Read

How Children Learn to Read syllabus (PDF)

The purpose of this foundations course is to introduce you to how children learn to read in the early grades. By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Articulate why reading is important for human development;
  • Explain the research and theory behind learning in general;
  • Explain how children learn the skill of reading, and the role of teachers and direct instruction in reading acquisition;
  • Outline the five components of reading (phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension) and techniques for teaching print skills and meaning skills;
  • Describe critical factors for reading acquisition in a multilingual context, including the difference in strategies needed for learning to read in one’s mother tongue (L1) vs. learning to read in a second language (L2);
  • Describe how curriculum and materials can support early grade reading;
  • Describe how you would plan and implement action research for promoting reading;
  • Create and present an analysis for applying knowledge about how children learn to read to your own context and work.

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Systems to Support Early Grade Reading

Systems to Support Early Grade Reading Syllabus (PDF)

The purpose of this course is to help you understand the “big picture” about all of the stakeholders, policies, and systems involved in implementing an early grade reading reform project. By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of system reform for improving early grade reading;
  • Articulate what is meant by system reform;
  • Articulate the various components of the system such as policy, finance, curriculum, materials, training, supervision, inclusion and so on that need reform to make the system effective for early grade reading;
  • Outline the major theories about how to build or reform a workable system for children’s reading;
  • Outline the strategies for system change;
  • Discuss the importance of context, such as cultural, social, political, and economic factors that influence the effectiveness of an early grade reading system;
  • Describe the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of a system; and
  • Create and present an analysis for applying knowledge about reform and systems to your own context and work.

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Teacher Preparation and Support for Early Grade Reading

Teacher Preparation and Support Syllabus (PDF)

The purpose of this course is to introduce early grade reading project personnel to the ways in which teachers can be prepared and supported to improve children’s acquisition of reading skills in early grades and apply key concepts to their own context. The goal is to prepare you to:

  • Describe the background and context of early grade reading teachers in developing countries;
  • Identify key skills needed to teach reading in developing countries;
  • Understand the supports and motivations teachers need to change their behavior for successfully teaching reading skills in early grades;
  • Learn about teachers’ beliefs about children and their acquisition of reading.
  • Understand the relevant theories of adult learning and how they can be applied in early grade reading teacher preparation activities;
  • Know the different models of teacher preparation for early grade reading such as coaching, job-embedded professional development, pre-service and in-service training and so on;
  • Find, read and analyze teacher development programs/activities related to early grade reading initiatives that have happened in your country or region;
  • Engage with practitioners from around the world who are or will be involved in developing teachers’ capacity for early grade reading;
  • Design early grade reading teacher preparation programs/activities keeping in mind the contextual factors of developing countries.

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Materials and Technology for Early Grade Reading

Materials and Technology Syllabus (PDF)

The purpose of this course is to help you understand the role of curriculum and material resources to support reading. By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Define what goes into a curriculum for early grade reading;
  • Articulate the ways in which classroom-based materials can be effectively used for promoting early grade reading;
  • Describe the various technology that can be used for promoting early grade reading;
  • Identify the materials and resources needed to support children’s reading acquisition, inside and outside of the classroom;
  • Articulate how policy and systems can be aligned for supporting continuous use and improvement of materials and technology for early grade reading;
  • Supervise the design of appropriate materials considering technical, contextual, cost, and logistic factors;
  • Support the development of materials using locally available resources;
  • Explain mechanisms for vetting and evaluating the effective of materials;
  • Analyze and suggest ways to improve the publication and distribution of materials;
  • Explain how the ‘system of materials’ can be assessed to improve design, vetting, production, distribution, and use of materials; and
  • Create and present an analysis for applying knowledge about materials and technology to your own context and work.

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Role of Community and Family for Supporting Early Grade Reading

Role of Community and Family Syllabus (PDF)

The purpose of this course is to help you understand the role of and support for community and family participation in improving early grade reading. By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the roles that community and family can play in supporting early grade reading in and out of school;
  • Identify stakeholders, such as parents, Parent Teacher Associations, local leaders, and community members who play a role in supporting early grade reading.
  • Explain models of community and school relationship building;
  • Identify the factors that can influence community or family’s involvement in supporting early grade reading;
  • Articulate how to assess and influence family and community members’ beliefs about reading acquisition;
  • Describe how to employ a social marketing approach to change people’s attitudes and behaviors about reading development;
  • Explain models for outreach with all parts of the community, including those who are marginalized;
  • Articulate ways to help the school and community coordinate efforts of multiple donors; and
  • Create and present an analysis for applying knowledge about the role of community and family to your own context and work.

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