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Preparing for a World of Information at Washington School
The purpose of the text you are reading right now is to gain information.  In fact, most of the text adults read is nonfiction in order to answer questions or gather information.  Half of the passages students read in fourth grade on the National Assessment of Education Progress is now informational text.  The new Common Core Standards place reading informational text as a top priority.  Washington School for Comprehensive Literacy has embarked on a building goal to have at least 50% of the reading students do in the elementary grades to be done with nonfiction texts.  To help the teachers begin to reach that goal for their students, the school has recently used funds from the School of Recognition Grant awarded last year to bring educator and consultant Linda Hoyt to the school, September 28-30, 2011.


For two days, Hoyt demonstrated comprehension strategies that helped students extract information from nonfiction texts.  The strategies were from her book Make It Real: Strategies for Success with Information Text.  Teachers met in grade-level clusters of K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 while Linda presented the strategies to Washington students in their classrooms while the teachers completed an observation protocol.  Following each demonstration, the teachers met with Hoyt to review their observations and ask questions for clarification.  For example, Hoyt demonstrated the comprehension strategy she titled V.I.P. (Very Important Points) for helping students determine important facts in a nonfiction passage.    Determining importance is an important comprehension strategy that can be used with students as young as in kindergarten.  Students across the school are now using the V.I.P. strategy in reading workshop and content workshop.

(above) Presenter Linda Hoyt presents strategies to students.

(above) Two Washington teachers work together during the session.

On the third day of her visit, Linda Hoyt led an all-day professional development session for teachers.  By the end of this experience, teachers had a large number of reading strategies ready to use with students, theoretical background to support the strategies, and an action plan for implementation at each grade level.  She will return in April for another three days to support the school in teaching informational writing to students.

(above) Washington teachers work collaboratively as part of a training on non-fiction reading comprehension strategies for students.
L to R: Amy Luedtke, Kirsten Thiel, Karin Bulkow (foreground)

Linda Hoyt has many years of experience teaching in elementary classrooms. She has worked as a reading specialist, a staff developer, a curriculum specialist, and a Title I Coordinator. She especially enjoys creating environments where children engage as active participants in the learning process.  She is from Portland, Oregon, and has written twenty-four books on teaching.  More information on Hoyt can be obtained by visiting her website at  Learn more about the school by visiting or by calling Principal Karl Bekkum at 920-459-3661.
Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
October 25, 2011