Hannah Creech, a CUW alumna and Kindergarten teacher at First Immanuel Lutheran School in Cedarburg, attended the 2019 Summer Literacy Institute.

Concordia University Wisconsin's School of Education welcomed a record number of teachers and administrators to campus today, the first day of the annual Summer Literacy Institute.

Dr. Steven Witt, director of graduate education at CUW, is the driving force behind the Summer Literacy Institute.

Nearly 75 public, private, and charter school teachers are registered for the two-day workshop put on by faculty from CUW’s graduate education program.

This year’s focus was on elevating small group instruction. Small group instruction offers an opportunity to target students’ unique needs by providing scaffolding, feedback, and guided practice. Despite the benefits, planning for effective small group instruction demands a carefully orchestrated classroom management system and requires conscientious planning.

The Literacy Institute sets out to equip educations with helpful teaching tools and strategies to implement this successful method.

“Research indicates when we supplement whole group instruction with small group conferences, we work more efficiently and increase student performance,” said Dr. Steven Witt, director of graduate education programs and director of preferred educational partnerships. “Teachers at all grade levels acknowledge the importance of literacy instruction, and it’s exciting to see such a large group of educators devote their summer hours to improving their craft for betterment of their students.”

Nichol Kreger, fifth grade teacher at St. Paul Lutheran School, talks strategies for conferring with readers.

Today’s schedule of events includes three breakout sessions appropriate for educators from grades K-8 on topics including “Enhancing Emergent Literacy Skills through Small Group Interactive Writing” and “Guided Instruction Within the Reading Workshop Framework.”

Tomorrow morning’s keynote address, “Transforming Small Group Instruction,” will be delivered by Jennifer Arenson Yaeger, a renowned author and coordinator of school reform initiatives. A graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she has over 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher and literacy coach. Since 2010, Yaeger has served as District Literacy Coach for the Plymouth Public Schools in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

More than 20 Concordia undergraduate education majors will attend the voluntary study session Friday afternoon on the Foundation of Reading Test. The session will be led by Yaeger, who has developed a model to prepare teachers to take the test.

Learn more about Concordia’s graduate education options by clicking here.

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