Moving the needle on literacy: lessons learned from a school where literacy rates have improved over time

George Georgiou*, Greg Kushnir, Rauno Parrila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Literacy is the most important skill children are required to master during their early school life. At the same time, much has been written about both the inadequate preparation of teachers to teach reading and the ever-increasing number of poor readers in our schools. In this study, we examined teachers' perceptions of the factors that have contributed to their school's success in improving children's literacy scores. We used a sequential explanatory mixed methods research design where Phase 1 involved collecting quantitative data to document the improvement in reading and asking the teachers to fill out a questionnaire, while Phase 2 comprised gathering qualitative data where the principal and a language arts teacher commented on the findings from Phase 1. The results revealed three important themes that teachers perceive contributing to their school's success. First, teachers collaborate weekly on their own learning, plan instruction together, and provide support for each other. Second, formative assessments are shared within each grade and data are used to inform areas of growth, not to evaluate teachers' performance. Third, the school focuses on improving reading and believes in the child's continuous growth. Taken together, the findings of our study suggest that teachers perceive success to be a team effort grounded on theory and the principles of collaborative learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-359
Number of pages13
JournalAlberta Journal of Educational Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


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