New Mexico Public Education Department Biliteracy Guidance Document – The Science of Reading for English Learners
In this document, the New Mexico Public Education provides guidance for teachers of English Learners on using Structured Literacy in biliteracy settings. The guidance provided aims to help teachers of English Learners understand how to generalize features of effective instruction with scientific, evidence-based practices for English literacy to home language literacy and biliteracy. Specific guidance on how these practices and strategies converge for instruction in English and Spanish are provided with a focus on alignment and adherence to Structured Literacy. Attention is given to areas of divergence for literacy instruction in English and Spanish to support teachers who teach English Learners in biliteracy settings.
At the beginning of the 2020/2021 school year, the New Mexico Public Education Department launched a state-wide literacy initiative, Structured Literacy New Mexico. This initiative is focused on identifying struggling readers before they fail and supporting teachers through the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy. Our intention is to increase the number of students achieving reading proficiency and reducing the number of students requiring special education services.
Structured literacy is an umbrella term used to describe evidence-based approaches for helping students learn to read and write proficiently. Structured Literacy combines a proven effective system for teaching reading with what brain science tells us is happening in the brain as we learn to read – it involves a dynamic, multi-sensory approach to learning. Research shows structured literacy approaches benefit all students and are especially effective for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
Important Structured Literacy Materials
Structured Literacy Administrator Walkthrough Tool
Classroom literacy instructional observations conducted by administrators and literacy coaches serve several purposes:
Many aspects of the Structured Literacy Administrator Walkthrough Tool are aligned with the Elevate NM Observation Domains, but the components in the Structured Literacy Administrator Walkthrough tool are specific to structured literacy-based practices and are non-evaluative. These non-evaluative observations of reading instruction are one of the most important and valuable ways for principals to gather information about effective reading instruction in the classroom and offer valuable, timely specific feedback and support to reading teachers. Principals can use what they observe in the classrooms of their master reading teachers to gain a vision of what literacy instruction could look like in all classrooms.
By dedicating time to observe structured literacy-based practices in classrooms on a regular basis, school leaders demonstrate to staff that effective reading instruction is an essential school priority. Most importantly, regular observations and walkthroughs allow principals to understand how reading instruction is being delivered in the classrooms and to use that information to support teachers’ efforts to provide effective, evidence-based reading instruction.
The 2020 New Mexico Dyslexia Handbook: A guide to teaching ALL students to read through structured literacy is a document that provides New Mexico educators with guidelines for academic instruction for students with characteristics of dyslexia. The dyslexia handbook will provide current scientific-based information concerning dyslexia, identification of characteristics of dyslexia, identification of the specific components for appropriate multi-sensory, systematic, explicit language-based reading programs, considerations for English learners, in addition to general education and special education accommodations and classroom strategies.
Structured Literacy and Dyslexia for Diverse Learners (2.0)
This revised course, formerly known as Structured Literacy and Dyslexia 101, contains content specifically focused on English Learners. The additional content is intended to strengthen educators’ knowledge and ability to instruct English Learners and all culturally and linguistically diverse learners. The course maintained its five modules with each module augmented with information and instructional strategies for effective implementation of Structured Literacy with diverse learners. The information is additive and not redundant. Each module has a seven-question quiz to be completed at the end of the module. The NMPED believes that all educators should be trained to serve New Mexico’s students who are English Learners, heritage language learners, or who have a cultural or language difference. This self-paced course can be completed in 8 hours and is found in Canvas.
Structured Literacy for Biliteracy
A new standalone course Structured Literacy for Biliteracy is also available for educators that took the original Structured Literacy and Dyslexia 101 course before the release of the Structured Literacy and Dyslexia for Diverse Learners (2.0). This standalone course includes only the new content for English Learners and all culturally and linguistically diverse learners included in the revised course. The course is divided into the five original modules, but only contains new content. Each module has a three-question quiz to be completed at the end of the module and should take 2-4 hours to complete. This course is found in Canvas.
K-5 Literacy Plan Submission
Updated literacy plans for 2022-2023 school year (required by statute) should be submitted here no later than Oct. 15. The law states school districts and charter schools shall develop/revise a literacy professional development plan that includes a detailed plan for structured literacy training and a detailed plan for evidence-based reading interventions. The submission window opened Aug. 1.
The LETRS course of study provides PreK–third grade educators with a deeper understanding of the science of reading and evidence-based strategies to support all students, particularly those who experience reading challenges. Upon completion of the LETRS coursework, participants will be able to:
- Identify reading difficulties and differentiate accordingly
- Articulate the science behind how the brain learns to read
- Implement research-validated strategies
- Assess the effectiveness of instructional resources