While much of the United States has been facing the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, Texas educators have been planning their curricula to meet STAAR™—the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. STAAR replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in spring 2012. STAAR assessments have been designed to focus on “readiness” standards, defined as those Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that are not only essential for success in the current grade or course but also important for preparedness in the next grade or course. In reading assessments for STAAR, greater emphasis will be given to critical analysis rather than literal understanding. STAAR writing assessments at grades 4 and 7 will be extended to two days. The test designs for STAAR grades 4 and 7 writing and STAAR English I, II, and III will require students to write two essays addressing different purposes for writing rather than one longer personal essay, which TAKS required.
TALE President Offers Session Recommendations
As the International Reading Association (IRA) prepares for the IRA 58th Annual Convention on April 19-22 in San Antonio, Reading Today asked Texas Association for Literacy Education (TALE) President Carolyn Denny, the Instructional Specialist for the Elementary Language Arts and Reading Department at Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, to review the convention program and pinpoint offerings that will be especially useful for teachers and administrators charged with getting their students to meet the new STAAR standards. Her personal picks are as follows:
Proficiency in Writing
- Donald Graves and the Revolution in Children’s Writing—Recovered Archival Footage of a Turning Point in Literacy Education with Penny Kittle from Conway School District and Thomas Newkirk from the University of New Hampshire
- Comprehension and Composition Strategies for Struggling Readers and Writers: K thru 12 with Susan M. Glazer and Phyllis D. Fantauzzo from Rider University
- Teachers, Writing Notebooks, and Literature in the Writing Workshop with Shelby Barrentine and Pamela Beck from the University of North Dakota
Making Connections between Reading and Writing
- Literacy and Learning Lessons: Maximizing Achievement for ALL Learners with Regie Routman
- Mentor Poetry: Making Reading and Writing Connections Across the Day with Rosemary Cappelli from the West Chester Area School District and Lynne Dorfman from Upper Moreland School District
- Reading Comes Alive! Engaging Readers Using Contemporary Literature and Interactive Literacy Charts to Develop Comprehension with FrancesGonzalez-Garcia from Texas A&M University & Northside ISD, Christine DeLaGarza from TAMUCC, Veronica L.Gonzalez-Vead from Taft ISD/ Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Bryant Griffith from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and Sonia Vega from Corpus Christi ISD
Deeper Mastery of Nonfiction and Poetry
- TALE’s session Making a Difference: Texas Authors, Texas Teachers and Texas Literacy Organizations Focus on Critical Reading and Thinking Around Nonfiction Texts with Carolyn Hunter Denny from Northside ISD, Kay Shurtleff from Education Service Center Region X, Kathy E.Stephens from LeTourneau University, Laura Lee Stroud from Hopewell Middle School/Round Rock Independent School District, Sharon O’Neal from Texas State University, and authors Cynthia Levinson and Don Tate
- Scaffolding Readers: Increasing the Enjoyment and Understanding of Poetry with Judy Wallis from the University of Houston-Sugar Land, Joan Jennings, and Nancy Allison
The IRA 58th Annual Convention runs from April 19 to 22, 2013, in San Antonio, Texas. Visit the iPlanner Program Grid and Event Search for session dates, times, and details. Visit the official convention website at www.iraconvention.org for information about additional offerings and events or to register.