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Literacy for ME

May 18, 2012

Maine’s Comprehensive State Literacy Plan

Lisa Gilman teaches visual arts at the Winthrop Middle School. During the last year she has served as a content specialist on the State Literacy Committee. Recently she wrote this post for the meartsed blog to provide information to arts educators of the work the committee has done.

The committee was formed during the Fall of 2010. The MDOE applied for a Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) formula grant to be used to establish a Statewide Literacy Team charged with assisting the MDOE to develop a Statewide Literacy Plan. The Maine Department of Education was awarded the SRCL grant in November 2010. 

Along with many state literacy specialists and classroom specialists we began this journey by looking at other states that had completed their literacy plans. At the helm is Leeann Larsen, Literacy Specialist, MDOE, who has been a great leader for this daunting task of creating a plan for the state.   

“Literacy for ME outlines steps and identifies resources to help educators and others provide children with a strong early childhood foundation in literacy, provide students with effective literacy training throughout their years in school, and provide adults with low levels of literacy with the adult-level training they need.”

The literacy plan is organized around the following 6 components:

  • Strong leadership
  • System-wide commitment and partnerships
  • Standards and curriculum
  • Instruction and intervention
  • Assessment
  • Professional learning

These same components are familiar to Maine educators because they have the same components as other initiatives such as RTI and standards based education. This plan is not in addition to literacy efforts but a guide for ongoing work at the State and local level. Literacy for ME hopes to develop a cultural shift in how we think of literacy. Literacy for ME intends to broaden literacy for all residents of Maine. The plan is designed to initiate partnerships beyond the classroom walls.

The state of Maine defines literacy as: 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.  As an art educator who has taught reading along with my regular visual arts curriculum, literacy must not be designated to just Language Arts classes. Literacy is continually defined and expanded in our contemporary world.

Be looking for the formal plan to be launched in August 2012. 

Thank you Lisa for providing this information!

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