Supporting Early Literacy through Text, Task, and Talk

Supporting Early Literacy through Text, Task, and Talk

Session 1 - March 21
Session 2 - April 11
Session 3 - May 2

8:30 AM - 3:30 PM (CST)
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

Using developmentally appropriate practices
, it is important for young children to explore complex and engaging texts that capitalize on what they know and provide them with opportunities to build new knowledge. The more they know, the better prepared they will be to meet the cognitive demands of the challenging texts they encounter in elementary school, and the more they read, the more they will know. We can provide students with a strong foundation so they learn to do the talking and the thinking before they finish second grade.

Ensuring that young children benefit from their early learning experiences is essential to building a strong and productive society. Scientific research has established that if all children are to achieve their developmental potential, it is important to lay the foundation during the earliest years for lifelong health, learning, and positive behavior.

 (Phillips, et al., 2017)

Text, task, and talk are key components that work together to form the foundation for high-quality literacy development. These components help students build their knowledge about a topic and learn ways of reading, thinking through, writing about, and talking about complex ideas found in engaging texts.

Join us for a new professional development series focused on productive classroom talk, high-quality comprehension and robust vocabulary instruction in Texas early education classrooms. The three-part series of sessions, taken together, provides a deep professional learning experience where participants will grow both pedagogical and content knowledge.

This vocabulary and comprehension instruction is grounded in the work of Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown, Linda Kucan, and Cheryl Sandora. Additionally, each session builds on research-based practices that focus on the role of classroom talk in supporting student thinking and learning. This research has shown that student thinking is made visible by providing opportunities for children to put their thoughts into words and that their thinking is made sharper by elaborating on and clarifying their ideas. Finally, student learning is advanced by hearing and reflecting on other students’ ideas. We will dig into the role of Accountable Talk to understand ways in which teachers can create and foster talk-rich classrooms and how that talk supports student learning.

Texts that are effective for developing language and comprehension ability need to be conceptually challenging enough to require grappling with ideas and taking an active stance toward constructing meaning. The point is that young children can handle challenging content.

(Beck & McKeown, 2001)

This series will be expertly facilitated by IFL fellow and esteemed author, Dr. Cheryl Sandora. Sandora’s research includes how best to support reading comprehension and vocabulary in elementary classrooms. She recently co-authored Illuminating Comprehension and Close Reading with Dr. Isabel Beck. As an English Language Arts fellow at the Institute for Learning, Sandora develops literacy curriculum and facilitates professional development for districts across the country.

Since 1995, the Institute for Learning has partnered with Texas school districts to work together in improving the education and achievement of all students — especially students of color and English learners. In fact, research has shown that IFL programs and materials not only increase student achievement, but also that English learners showed even larger gains than their native English-speaking classmates.

Who should attend:

  • Early Learning Educators/Pre-K - Grade 2 Teachers
  • Early Learning Literacy Coaches
  • Early Learning Instructional Leaders
  • Early Learning Administrators

Frequent opportunities to collaboratively process complex texts in the early grades help children learn how to approach such texts both as emergent readers and, later, as independent ones, thus contributing to their lifelong development as skilled readers.

  (Hoffman, Teale, & Yokota, 2015)


Beck, I., & McKeown, M. (2001, September). Text talk: Capturing the benefits of read aloud experiences for young children. The Reading Teacher, 55(1), 10.

Hoffman, J., Teale, W. H., & Yokota, J. (2015, September). The book matters! Choosing complex narrative texts to support literary discussion. Retrieved January 2017, from NAEYC:

Phillips, D., Lipsey, M., Dodge, K., Haskins, R., Bassok, D., Burchinal, M., . . . Weiland, C. (2017). The current state of scientific knowledge on pre-kindergarten effects. Brookings Institution. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution.


Contact Information

Payment Instructions

  • If paying by PO or Check, please remit to:

    Institute for Learning
    3939 O'Hara Street
    LRDC 310
    Pittsburgh, PA 15260
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