User Tools

Site Tools


EDU 407 Beginning Literacies Syllabus

Published by J. Gregroy McVerry on

Image: "double meaning" by giulian.frisoni is licensed under CC BY

My syllabus for #edu407 starting tomorrow @scsu. Excited to get back to learning from future teachers


Department of Curriculum & Learning

EDU 407

Summer 2020


Instructor: Dr. J Gregory McVerrry

Office Hours: Drop In

Monday-Friday 9-3

Evenings by appointment and availability


Days and Times: Online expect 4-5 hours of work a day

Contact: Use Blackboard or Microsoft Teams.

Email: (emergency only)

Contact regarding this course is encouraged. Should you need to meet with me outside of scheduled office hours, please let me know and will arrange a time to meet.


Course Number

Credit Hours


EDU 407



Course Title

Emerging Literacies

Course Description

A sociocultural exploration of the cueing systems, word meaning, fluency, comprehension of text function, structure and genre, and writing play a critical role in developing and assessing academic literacies. Building upon theoretical foundations of the prerequisite literacy course, this course examines strategies that expand academic literacies that recognize the role of identity and power.



Required Texts

Alderman, G. L., & Green, S. K. (2011). Fostering Lifelong Spellers Through Meaningful Experiences. Reading Teacher, 64(8), 599–605 Link

Bear, D. R., & Templeton, S. (1998). Explorations in developmental spelling: Foundations for learning and teaching phonics, spelling.. Reading Teacher, 52(3), 222.Link

Beck, A. (2005). A place for critical literacy. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 48(5), 392-400. doi: 10.1598/JAAL.48.5.3

Cappello, M., & Lafferty, K. E. (2015). The Roles of Photography for Developing Literacy Across the Disciplines. Reading Teacher, 69(3), 287–295.

Chang, W. C., & Ku, Y. M. (2015). The effects of note-taking skills instruction on elementary students’ reading. The Journal of Educational Research, 108(4), 278-291.

Dyson, A. H., & Genishi, C. (2013). Social talk and imaginative play: Curricular basics for young children’s language and literacy. Theoretical models and processes of reading, 164-181.

Graves, D. H. (1985). All Children Can Write.

Hoffman, J. V., Sailors, M., & Aguirre, S. H. (2016). Thinking Globally in Literacy Instruction: Making Difference in the World. Reading Teacher, 70(2), 143–148.Reading

Honig, B., Diamond, L., & Gutlohn, L. (2013). Teaching reading sourcebook (2nd ed.). Novato, CA:

Arena Press.

Invernizzi, M. A., Abouzeid, M. P., & Bloodgood, J. W. (1997). Integrated word study: Spelling, grammar, and meaning in the language arts classroom. Language Arts, 74(3), 185-192.

Lemov, D (2017).Why Knowledge Counts More Than Skil lEducational Leadership

Literacy Research Association.Critical Race Theory.

McVerry, J. G. (2015). Difference Between Critical Literacy and Critical Reading

Meyer, B. J., & Ray, M. N. (2017). Structure strategy interventions: Increasing reading comprehension of expository text. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 4(1), 127-152.

Moje, E. (2010) What is Disciplinary Literacy?

Teale, W. H. (2008). What counts? Literacy assessment in urban schools. The Reading Teacher, 62(4), 358-361.

Woodard, R., & Kline, S. (2016). Lessons From Sociocultural Writing Research for Implementing the Common Core State Standards. Reading Teacher, 70(2), 207–216.Reading

Zawilinksi, L.Hot Blogging.


Technology Requirements

  • SCSU Email: SCSU email is an official, university-approved method of communication with students. It is recommended that you check your SCSU regularly throughout the semester. If you have difficulty logging in, please contact the Help Desk at 203-392-5123.
  • TK20: All students must purchase TK20 (your electronic assessment portfolio). Access TK20 here.
  • Blackboard: We will use Blackboard for all our assignments. Each student will have a series of journals/blogs. You will complete each entry. You may choose to use a personal website for your publishing.
  • Optional Digital Literacies are a critical skill for elementary teachers to master. You also should take control of your professional identity. If you want to use your own website or blog you are encouraged to do. I will be! A feed of all post will be on our homescreen. Just submit a link to your post in Blackboard.


Modes of Instruction and Learning

This class is organized around five units. Every unit is composed of related topics. Each topic is broken into a read, write, and participate task. Everything will be hosted in Blackboard. You may choose to use Blackboard or your own website. An RSS feed will be provided but all students must upload links or submit assignments to each Module in Blackboard.

Read Task

We will utilize to annotate and take notes on one reading per topic. You are welcome to utilize the social annotations tool on the other readings as well.

You need to track and share how you take notes as you read. This may be a blog reflection or a screenshot of your notes. The goal is to model the types note taking strategies you will need to teach students in grades 3-6

Each topic will have an assigned discussion director, a word hunter, and a digging deeper detective. You will have all three roles at different times during the class:

  • Discussion Director: You will post questions about the readings to your group. All questions get approved by Dr. Mac before they are posted. You then facilitate the discussion of that topic during the week.
  • Word Hunter-You have to identify all key words or concepts from the readings or topics and add to the class wiki.
  • Digging Deeper Detective

Write Task

You then take the information you learned from the readings and synthesize this into your own original writing. These are concise statements or deep questions. The key factor in success is utilizing the evidence from the readings and your peers and combining this with your experience or what you know.


Pre-plan: Paper is your friend. Research even shows it improves learning. Draft: Write and revise

Features of a successful blog post

  • A well organized argument or main point, supported through the use of hyperlinks and multimedia materials (video, sound, images)
  • A clear, unified voice that is appropriate for the intended reading public
  • A title that links clearly to the content of the post

Features of a successful blog

  • Short, concise posts that use multimedia materials (video, images) to effectively make a point
  • Effective use of hyperlinks to support ideas, to direct readers to relevant, interesting posts, and to demonstrate an awareness of the community of writers focusing on a common theme or set of ideas
  • A clear, unified voice that continues to grow and develop over time

Qualities of a skilled blogger

  • Ability to quickly synthesize and articulate ideas
  • An awareness of a wide range of blogging techniques and of how these various techniques reach different target audiences effectively or ineffectively
  • Reading with mouse in hand: Engaging with (online and offline) materials as potential material for blog posts
  • Willingness to serve as an intelligent filter for a wide public audience
  • Engagement with the wider blogging community, including offering thoughtful comments on others’ writing and reading widely and broadly
  • Post by Jacob McWilliams.

Participate Task

Every topic has a participation task that is designed to let you demonstrate mastery of the stated objectives. Each module page in Blackboard will describe the criteria and different technology requires (like Google Docs, Google Slides, etc).

Performance Assessment

Each unit ends with a performance assessment. You will submit your plans and reflections on how you complete these tools that measure your growth in skills and knowledge.


International Literacy Association (ILA) & International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

The ILA Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals (2017) include competencies specific to:

  1. Foundational Knowledge
  1. Curriculum and Instruction
  1. Assessment and Evaluation
  1. Diversity and Equity
  1. Learners and the Literacy Environment
  1. Professional Learning and Leadership
  2. Practicum/Clinical Experiences

. The professional standards can also be found here.

In addition, International Dyslexia Association (IDA)Standards are addressed in this course. The professional standards can be found at


Grading Policy

This is an intensive five week class. Success is determined by your commitment to learning rather than relying on rubrics and numbers. You need to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be a successful classroom teacher

Individual Tasks

You are required to post all read and write post by the stated dates in the syllabi. This provides evidence of your ability to set and accomplish goals. These assignments are scored dichotomously. You did or did not.

However patterns of evidence will emerge across these posts that should show growth over time.

Performance Task:

All performance tasks are judged against the stated criterion. You should ensure your artifacts demonstrate mastery of the goals. After each module you are to post a reflection explaining what you did, how you did it, and how this met the criteria.

If I feel you did provide evidence of this growth I will award you a credential. Successful performance i class requires you to collect all the badges.

Group Task:

Your dispositions as a teacher will be assessed during your group task. How well do you communicate, plan, and write with others is a key skill for teachers,

A survey will be sent to try and match members with availability and preferred methods of communication.

Alternative assignments will not be provided for those who do not complete scheduled group tasks. If a group member is not performing their duties email Dr. Mac.


Unit One: Reading + Writing = Literacies






What is literacy?

Explain knowledge of foundational theories of equity and culturally responsive education.

-Advocate for equity.

Hoffman et al

Write a post exploring your literary past.

Post Your Literacy Mantra


Identify stages of the writing process.

-Analyze effective practice for teaching in Grades 3-6



Add 5 writing lesson plans to the wiki

Write short daily updates or writing challenges 5 out 7 days

Unit Performance Assessment

Choose one of your pieces, hold a writing conference with a peer, revise and publish your piece. Reflect on the revision.


Unit Two: Theories of Meaning Making






Meaning Making

Analyze historical perspectives on literacy

Critical Race Theory

Alexander and Fox

If the definition of literacy always shifts can we know what meaning making means?

Make a chart or infographic on history of perspectives


Analyze how assessment works based on theory


-Identify methods for comprehension strategy instruction.

-Debate efficacy of strategy instruction vs content knowledge instruction,

Duke and Pearson

Initial Opinion: Should we teach strategies or focus on content knowledge

Work with your group to complete a Vee diagram

Disciplinary Literacy

-Describe ways of making meaning across different disciplines


Complete a 3-2-1 post on disciplinary literacies

Add to the class Padlet on making meaning across disciplines

Unit Performance Assessment

Complete the graphic organizer for your group essay on “Content Knowledge or Strategy Instruction”


Unit Three: Instructional Routines






[Text Structure]

Identify strategies to use text structure to improve comprehension


Document and reflect

Text Structure Lesson Plan

Book Leveling

Analyze the efficacy of book leveling routines



Document and reflect

Case study graphic organizer

Note taking

Develop a lesson to teach note taking

Chang & Ku

Document and reflect

Notetaking Lesson Plan


Develop a lesson plan to teach word analysis


Document and reflect

Vocabulary Lesson Plan


Develop a word sort lesson plan

Invernizzi et al

Document and reflect

Word Sort Lesson Plan

Unit Performance Assessment

As a group make a video and wiki page to teach the class about your topic.


Unit Four: Literacies






Critical Literacy

Analyze historical perspectives on literacy



What does it mean to be critical?

Find five examples of literzcy in action

Media Literacy

-Identify methods for comprehension strategy instruction.

-Debate efficacy of strategy instruction vs content knowledge instruction,



How should we use pop culture in our schools?

Play with the lego gender remixer

Digital Literacy

-Analyze how literacy practices shift in a digital world.

McVerry, Belshaw, O’Byrne



What new digital literacy skills do students need

Add to the class Padlet on making meaning across disciplines

Unit Performance Assessment

Submit final drafts of all lesson plans to the class wiki


Unit Five: Feedback for Growth







Describe different purposes for literacy assessment


What does it mean to be critical?

Ensure alignment of objectives and assessments through peer review


-IAddress the cognitive, social, and physical differences of k12 classrooms.

Ankrum and Bean

How should we use pop culture in our schools?

Add content based differentiation to all your lesson plans

Unit Performance Assessment

Make a rubric for your case studies, Then choose a case study and rubric from a peer. Score the case study and writer feedback for growth.


Course Policies: Professional Dispositions and Expectations

Absence: Time in class contributes directly and significantly to the development of knowledge, competencies, and professional dispositions of candidates in the SCSU Graduate Reading Program. For this reason, all candidates should strive for perfect attendance in each class. However, in the event that absence is unavoidable, missed class time will be made-up with additional course work that reflects the content and purpose of the class. All other assignments listed on the course syllabus for that are still due. Make-up assignments for missed class time will be graded and might include a paper of substantial length or other projects (e.g. an extra tutoring session with a child if the class is a practicum; a presentation; a campus meeting and/or class; etc.). What form the make-up assignment takes is at the discretion of the professor. If this work is not completed to the professor’s expectations and/or there is an additional absence (total of two absences), the final grade may be lowered (i.e., A- to B+; B to B-). Students with two absences must confer with Dr. Randall before make up work will be accepted by the course instructor.

High-Quality Writing and Format: Do your best. Don’t be grammar police but show evidence of effort through pre-writing and revision.

Late Work: All projects are due on their assigned due dates.

Online Time: Set aside 3-5 hours a day for this class. Turn off your notifications, shut down social media and get to work.

Course Code of Conduct: Please read the course Code of Conduct in BlackBoard and mark that you signed it.


University Policies

If You Have a Disability: Southern Connecticut State University provides reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Action and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. If you are a student with a documented disability, the University’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) can work with you to determine appropriate accommodations. Before you receive accommodations in this class, you will need to make an appointment with the DRC located in EN C-105A. To discuss your approved accommodations or other concerns with me, such as medical emergencies or arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment to speak with me as soon as possible.

Academic Honesty: Students in the Graduate Reading Program are expected to adhere to academic honesty standards as stated in the Graduate Catalogue. Violations of academic honesty are grounds for a failing grade and may result in dismissal from the School of Graduate Studies.

Sexual Misconduct and Assault: Southern Connecticut State University is highly committed to providing you with an educational experience that is academically and socially enriching. In line with this mission, we enforce Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, which prohibits acts of sexual misconduct (sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking) at educational institutions. To report sexual misconduct, students should contact University Police at (203) 392-5491 and/or Pamela Lassiter, Office of Diversity and Equity at (203) 392-5491 and/or Christopher Piscitelli, Office of Judicial Affairs at (203) 392-6188. For advocacy and further information, including your Title IX rights and reporting procedures, visit the Sexual Assault Resource Team (S.A.R.T.) website at Please contact Catherine Christy, Women’s Center and S.A.R.T. Coordinator at (203) 392-6946 for assistance or with any questions regarding support and advocacy.

Also on IndieWeb OER

edu_407_beginning_literacies.txt · Last modified: 2020/12/01 15:24 by jgmac1106