Literacy, as defined by the Maine Department of Education, is the ability to construct and convey meaning for a variety of purposes through an array of contextual forms and symbols, including reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing.
Literacy advocate and expert Pam Allyn says, “Reading is like breathing in and writing is like breathing out.”
We can blend these thoughts to substantiate literacy as the overarching key to educational equity which enables communication and comprehension. Literacy achievement is pivotal for ensuring students have access to the world of today and tomorrow, The Maine DOE has launched a Literacy Network to strengthen statewide literacy educational practices.
During the Spring of 2022, an introductory meeting began the process of envisioning the possibilities, priorities, and efforts of the Maine Association for Improving Literacy (MAIL). This network, open to all educators and those interested in improving literacy education efforts to benefit students, is being developed to strengthen statewide literacy practices. The Maine DOE plans to facilitate this group through:
- professional text and article studies,
- opportunities to share problems of practice,
- conversations across the state,
- sharing resources,
- state updates, and
- development of professional presentations for the benefit of all of Maine’s educators, schools, districts, and communities.
The attendees at the introductory meeting began the process of visioning what a literacy network might set for goals and products. The hopes of this group included:
- Ensuring children can read and love to read.
- Developing outcomes to address the needs and diversity of Maine’s current population.
- Supporting districts, teachers, specialists, etc. to build common ground, common language, common knowledge that leads to greater continuity of practice across the state of Maine.
As the new school year begins, MAIL will move forward, continuing to build vision and purpose. Plans for this year include:
- Holding monthly meetings, beginning in October. The tentative schedule for 2022-2023 School Year is as follows.
Second Thursday of each month from 3:30 pm-4:30 pm:
- October 13, 2022
- November 10, 2022
- December 8, 2022
- January 12, 2023
- February 9, 2023
- March 9, 2023
- April 13, 2023
- May 11, 2023
- June 8, 2023
- Offering 2 text study opportunities to spark discussion.
- Identifying the needs across the state and developing strategies to support and strengthen instructional literacy knowledge, messaging, and practices.
- Beginning to develop a toolkit of resources and information.
If you are interested in joining this literacy network and helping to develop the vision for a statewide effort to improve literacy, please register at the link below. There is no commitment, but your registration will ensure that you receive information and mailings.
If you have additional questions about MAIL, please do not hesitate to contact Dee Saucier, Inclusive Education Literacy Specialist, (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lee Anne Larsen, Coordinator of Early Learning (email@example.com).