Success Stories

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Lloydminster Public School Division
March 2017

Welcome to our Literacy Journey in LPSD:

Our journey began In the fall of 2012 and continues today. We began by introducing division wide reading data collection using the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark system. Sask Reads was introduced provincially, LPSD embraced it and we are happy to report we have implemented the philosophies and instructional approaches from Grade 1 through 9.

In 2014, there was a shift from Instructional Coaching to Literacy Coaching in response to the ESSP to ensure all students had access to high quality classroom instruction.

The Division Literacy Team continues to refine and rework our processes and procedures.
Along the way we began using a coaching cycle model founded by our Division Literacy Team.


Celebrations along the way:

  • Along with the Division Literacy Team, each school has it’s own Literacy Team. Grade Team meetings occur weekly where teachers discuss student data, tier one teaching and, interventions. They also develop common assessments and participate in collaborative marking of student work.
  • The School Administrators meet regularly as a PLC to participate in professional learning, share best practices, seek input to facilitate growth, and celebrate success in their schools.
  • Teachers invest in their professional learning through after school book clubs, lloydminister_public_march_2017_blog_post_band lunch and learns. The picture posted is of one group of staff meeting after school at a local coffee shop to further their learning.
  • Coaching Contexts:
    • Teachers have had the opportunity to view the best practices in reading instruction in action by participating in fishbowl activities: Teachers met with coaches to talk about what they would see, they watched coaches teach using best practices, and then participated in post fishbowl conversations to examine how to implement the instructional approaches outlined in Sask Reads.
    • Teachers meet one on one with coaches for a variety of reasons. They work collaboratively to discuss student data, solve problems, plan lessons, differentiate for student learning, plan assessments, examine resources, and to reflect on and celebrate their practice.
    • Every student from Grade 1 to 9 has a Literacy Folder that contains F&P protocols. The folder follows students from grade to grade, and sometimes from school to school within the division. Coaches meet with every teacher to analyze their students’ results and plan next instructional steps.

The Power of Best Practice:

  • We started with whole group learning around the four instructional approaches and the Gradual Release of Responsibility outlined in Sask Reads and now  provide support and PD when needed.
  • The implementation of Sask Reads has resulted in increased student engagement and learning.
  • We began in 2014 with 74.5% of our Gr. 1-6 students reading at or above grade level. Currently, as of January, 2017 we are at 79%.

We are very excited to continue our journey to a deeper understanding of the reading and writing relationship. To quote Pam Allyn, “ Reading is breathing in; writing is breathing out.”

Check out our Literacy Celebrations.

You will find more information about our journey, school celebrations and division showcase.

Trisha Rawlake on behalf on the LPSD literacy team


Northwest School Division
February 2017

My name is Jennifer Dorval and I am the Coordinator of Student Services for the Northwest School Division. I am a member of the NWSD Literacy Team and I would like to share our Dr. Stirling McDowell research project with you.

After our division established a literacy team in 2014, we all knew that our goal was to have an impact on student and teacher learning as well as teachers’ views of their own personal knowledge of reading instruction and professional growth. We realized the importance of working with school administrators to support their own growth as literacy leaders as well as building capacity in their schools. We were awarded a McDowell Research Grant so that our team could explore the question “How can a division literacy team of instructional leaders effectively support the implementation of research-based literacy instruction in grades 1-3?”

Our actions and goals in the research were to bring Saskatchewan Reads to life in classrooms across our school division. Each NWSD literacy team member worked closely with teachers and/or administrators supporting the research based and effective literacy instructional practice that was outlined in Saskatchewan Reads. “Lasting achievement across a whole school depends on a close working partnership and collaboration between and among the principal, classroom teachers, specialists, coaches and all members of the school community” (Routman, 2014, pg. 183).

Our research highlights how the Northwest School Division literacy team embedded a culture of literacy and thoughtful professional learning opportunities around both Saskatchewan Reads and Saskatchewan Reads for Administrators. Some of the themes that emerged were: creating trusting relationships, collaboration, building capacity, empowering literacy learners, developing literacy leaders, job-embedded professional learning, along with looking at and utilizing data/evidence. You can explore our full research report on the McDowell Foundation website.  We have seen year over year growth with our students reading at or above grade level and strive to continue:

June 2015

June 2016

 Grade 1



Grade 2



Grade 3



Moving forward, we are continuously reflecting on our educators’ strengths and needs in the area of effective literacy practices and strive to honour the research in Saskatchewan Reads and Saskatchewan Reads for Administrators so that we arrive at a division model worthy of our students.

I invite you to ask questions about any aspect of our Dr. Stirling McDowell project. Our team will be happy to respond.We look forward to hearing from you,

Jennifer Dorval on behalf of the NWSD Literacy Team

2 thoughts on “Success Stories

  1. Thank you for sharing your project and insights regarding how your NWSD Reading Team could make an impact and effectively support teachers and administrators with literacy strategies!

    On page 17 of the report Dawn talks about how the “Response to Intervention Team and kindergarten teachers placed significant attention on ensuring phonemic awareness skills were thoroughly taught
    in both the classroom and Tier 2 interventions.” Could you expand a little on what that looked like.

    Look forward to hearing from you,

  2. Our school schedules Tier 2 RTI for K students daily from 11:25-11:55. The SSST Teachers, Administrators and Classroom teachers work with groups of students for 15 minute intervals. During this time students work on specific skills through play-based activities. Groups are very fluid and students move to a new group as soon as they have demonstrated mastery.

    In order to determine our groups required, we administer a Book Knowledge Test, the Informal Phonological Awareness Test (Teaching Students with reading Difficulties and Disabilities: A Guide for Educators, Sask. Learning), along with Alphabet Letters and Sound Recognition. We use the following hierarchy of skills to determine the order the students move through the skills:

    Book Knowledge Skills
    Initial Sound
    Alliteration – Production
    Final Sound
    Blending Phonemes
    Segmenting Phonemes
    Letter and Sound Recognition

    Those students not in any RTI grouping due to having already mastered the phonemic/phonological awareness skills are placed in a large group and instructed by our Music teacher. She reinforces all skills previously taught along with reviewing skills currently being taught in the classroom through oral language activities (games, poems, songs, chants etc…).

    If you have any more questions, please feel free to respond.


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