Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hypothetical Letter to an Administrator

I interviewed some teachers at my school about our literacy program, then wrote a hypothetical letter to the principal. I'd like to present it to one of my administrators, but I'm wondering if it's too critical. Your thoughts?

February 3, 2012

Dear Administrator,

I am writing to voice a concern I have about the K-5 literacy program at our school. In the six months that I have taught at High Point Academy, I have observed a disconnect between reading and writing instruction that I am afraid may not be benefiting our students. Although classrooms across our elementary school have a set amount of time for reading each day, there is very little writing that is incorporated into the reading program. Further, very little writing instruction is set aside each week. With a few changes in teaching practices, and some changes in the school-wide schedule, students can benefit from complete reading and writing instruction, which is synergetic in nature (Nagin, 2006).

I propose that teachers be provided with continued professional development in the areas of reading and writing. This professional development could focus on the complementary nature of reading and writing. For example, both reading and writing encourage phonemic awareness and phonics skills in students. Further, teachers can help students make connections between what they write and what they read. Literature, from picture books to newspapers, to novels, can be read in class and viewed as writing that students can model after. As these synergies between reading and writing become more evident in the classroom, we will also see growth in students’ ability and eagerness to read and write.

Finally, the Leadership Team at High Point Academy should consider making some changes to the school day schedule in kindergarten through 5th grade. Currently, all classrooms in the elementary school participate in a one-hour long reading block in the morning every day. However, not every classroom has set the same standard for writing. Throughout these classrooms, there is very little consistency regarding when and how writing is taught. If a writing block could be scheduled into the school day, teachers would be able to teach writing skills with more consistency (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001). Also, students would start to feel that writing was a more routine part of their day, much like their reading block.

Thank you for hearing what I have to say. If you are interested in discussing any of these suggestions, please let me know. I would love to bring these concerns and solutions to the Leadership Team at this month’s meeting. 


Lauren Haug

Learning Support Team
High Point Academy
Reference List

Fountas, I. C. & Pinnell, G. S. (2001). Guiding readers and writers: Teaching comprehension, genre, and content literacy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Nagin, C. (2006). Because writing matters: Improving student writing in our schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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