Summer Institutes in the Teaching of Reading and Writing...All Summer Long

As July turns into August, the TCRWP team is revving up for two more institutes at the College, and reflecting on several score of “homegrown institutes” we have led in states dotting the country. From Hawaii to Texas, Georgia to Maine, we been welcomed by districts both large and small. “The amazing thing about homegrown institutes,” one staff developer has said, recalling the summer’s experiences, “is the combination of joy and rigor that comes from studying teaching together. We all care so much about the teaching of reading and writing that there isn’t anyone who isn’t investing heart and soul in this shared work.”

Staff developers have returned to the TCRWP offices with stories of extraordinary generosity. There have been dinners hosted at participants’ homes, sessions given on their porches, learning-inspired gifts including a popover pan and an accompanying how-to book, and special outings. The institutes were buttressed by sunset horseback riding in Wyoming, vineyard touring and sheep feeding in California, sledding in the dunes of the White Sands National Monument in Los Cruces, New Mexico, and boating on the St Lawrence Seaway!

At each institute, teachers participating in the work that kids are asked to do as readers and writers, gaining insiders’ perspectives on that work, and role played teaching, too, receiving on the spot feedback. Each institute has been characterized by a mix of risk taking, vulnerability and of care, as teachers and administrators help each other to do the sometimes frightening work of outgrowing oneself.

August will see thousands of teachers and administrators from all over the world convening on Teachers College’s campus for the final two TC institutes. Participants will hail from Chile, Portugal, Sweden, Singapore, Korea, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Quatar, and tons of other exotic places as well. The August Institute keynote speakers will include Lucy Calkins, of course, as well as literacy leaders and children’s book authors such as Jack Gantos, Kwame Alexander, Matt de la Pena, Carl Anderson, Stephanie Harvey and Kylene Beers.

To learn more about hosting a homegrown institute in your community: Click here for homegrown institutes.