Topic: Reading/Literacy
Instructor: Jodi Slonaker
Method: Online (OWRK)
Sponsor: Teach n' Kids Learn, Inc.
Center Offered: OLPD

Course Description:

Course Location:

Selecting appropriate reading material for students is hard. For decades, teachers have known that quality instruction requires a careful matching of reading materials to students. The goal of selecting materials that is neither too difficult nor too easy for students is a task which needs constant attention and adjustments on the part of the teacher. To ensure that students learn to read increasingly complex texts, teachers have to understand what makes a text hard but also engaging. The introduction of the Common Core State Standards has placed a spotlight on text complexity. This course focuses on the quantitative and qualitative factors of text complexity as well as the ways to engage students in this process. We also examine how close readings of complex texts scaffold students understanding and allow them to develop the skills necessary to read like a detective.

 This course has been divided into six modules:

 1.   Defining and Implications of Deeper Text Complexity

2.   Matching Readers with Text

3.   Helping Students Develop Close Reading Skills

4.   Using Text-Based Evidence and Questioning

5.   Deepening Student Understanding of Complex Texts

6.   Assessment for Learning with Deep Comprehension

 Within each module teachers complete cycles focused on critical reflection around each instructional practice area covered. This is important because research has shown this to be a necessary part of teachers making changes to their instructional practice. This allows teachers to approach each instructional practice topic with an understanding of what they currently do and work through a process of determining what they need to change. They then learn the new information about the instructional practice and complete activities within their own classroom which require them to implement what they have learned. Finally, as part of the overall assessment process participants reflect on the changes that they have made and determine what they need to continue to work on. Thus, it is not left up to teachers to ‘figure out’ how they will apply what they have been learning, as it is embedded directly into the course itself.

 This course is facilitated by a dedicated instructional coach who is assigned at the time of course registration. All courses with Teach n’ Kids Learn are asynchronous and are completely self-paced. While this is a self-paced online course, it has been designed from a job-embedded and community of learner approach. The new material presented to participants is done so through video, lesson activities, and readings. Participants are then, through the designed activities required to go into their classrooms, make observations, implement new strategies, and then reflect, ask questions, and seek feedback and advice on the discussion board where their posts are monitored by the course facilitator and by their peers. The combination of direct instruction, job-embedded application, and building a community of learners will help to increase the likelihood of participants understanding and transferring their new learning to their classroom instruction.

 This course is divided into modules that are presented in a progression of topics which build off of the previous module. At the beginning of each module, participants are presented information using various approaches which may include foundation information, research, reflective practices, instructional survey and/or assessment, observation of classroom practices, modeling teaching strategies, and/or review of written curricular materials. Participants then use this information throughout the module to make connections between the information being presented and determine how this may apply to their own classroom. Through the use of three types of TKL activities (i.e. reflective questions, Level 1 & 2 type discussion questions, and Level 1 & 2 type lesson activities) participants will be asked to address their current instructional practices as they begin to review how to incorporate the new strategies being presented within the course. This will provide opportunities for participants to share, reflect and transform their own practices from based on the course objectives.

 At key points throughout the course, participants are asked to reference back to their own instructional practices and determine how a teacher addresses gaps within their own instructional plans. Participants will demonstrate their level of understanding of the principles outlined within the course by completing each of the module participant guide which contain the following activities; discussion board questions, reflection activities, and lesson activities.


Through the use of the (LMS) Pathwright Learning Platform, participants have the opportunity to foster a professional learning community where educators can share knowledge, ideas, strategies, and experiences that improve the teaching and learning process with their course peers. Participants will receive feedback throughout the course from their assigned course instructor based.


Cost: $600
Timespan of Course:
September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017
Contact E-mail:

Meeting Times

  • Location of Meeting:
    Location of Meeting: 
    On going On line
Course Number: EDU*6250*K1
Academic Term: 17/GW
Academic Level: GW
Semester Hours: 3.00
Subject: EDU