Keys to Literacy Newsletter
Message from 
Joan Sedita

This year, we officially kicked off our 10 th anniversary, starting with a special institute held in September for peer coaches, administrators, and teachers from districts that are using Keys to Literacy instructional practices. Six long-time Keys trainers, including me, presented 16 workshops. During the keynote, I shared  some of the successes we have had since 2007, including:
- We have trained over 28,000 teachers in 550 public and private schools in over 185 districts.
- We have participated in over 20 collaborations with State Departments of Education and literacy organizations.
- We have delivered PD in 19 states, including MA, RI, NH, VT, ME, OH, AZ, NC, SC, PA, TN, CT, MI, NY, HI, NJ, TX, CO.
- We have presented at over 15 national and 100 state or local literacy conferences.

It has been very satisfying to see the impact we have had on so many educators, who in turn have helped their students improve their literacy skills. I am blessed with a career that enables me to say I am proud of what I do and of everyone at Keys to Literacy who has helped achieve these milestones! 


Joan Sedita
Founder & Author
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Volume 17
Fall 2016
In this issue, the focus is on  Early Writing Instruction.

Our newsletter provides guidance and resources about literacy instruction in grades K-12. We hope you find the tips helpful.... and feel free to forward this to your friends and colleagues!
Early Writing Instruction
The strong focus on writing skills across all grade levels in the Common Core Standards shines a spotlight on the importance of introducing basic composing and writing skills in grades K-3. However, many primary grade teachers are unsure of the research-based best practices for early writing instruction. A practice guide published by the Institute of Education Sciences titled " Teaching Elementary Students to be Effective Writers " provides a helpful overview of the research about teaching writing to young children.
This research, along with the Common Core K-3 writing standards, was the foundation for our new "Keys to Early Writing" PD recently released by Keys to Literacy. (Access K-3 grade-specific writing standards) This routine, along with our comprehension and vocabulary PD for primary grades, identifies the following instructional components:
  • writing process
  • engage a community of writers
  • daily opportunities to write
  • text structures for the three types of writing
  • writing from sources
The routine emphasizes the importance of developing oral language skills as a basis for building composing skills. Also, it includes the use of a writing assignment guide (WAG) that teachers use to plan formal writing activities. A WAG includes planning sections for providing mentor models, scaffolds, opportunities for peer collaboration, and feedback to students on their oral or written composing. The training book for "Keys to Early Writing" will be published in 2017, but we currently have over 30 free templates and printables available on the Keys website including:
  • Blank WAG
  • Paragraph templates
  • K-3 opinion, informational, and narrative feedback checklists and rubrics
  • Scaffolds to support composing and writing from sources
Teachers can find suggestions for mentor writing models in an earlier Keys to Literacy blog post.
K-3 student writing samples may be found at the following sites:
Additional Resources Related to Early Writing Instruction
Recommended Book Chapter:  Coker, D. (2007). Writing instruction for young children. In S. Graham, C.A. MacArthur, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.). Best practices in writing instruction. New York: The Guilford Press.
Keys to Literacy News
Our biggest news is that we launched our new website on October 3! Our top-notch web designer,  Abby Fichtner, developed a visually appealing and easy-to-navigate site. We have expanded the free resources available including links to video clips on the Keys to Literacy YouTube site, archived webinars, and hundreds of templates/printables. You can now order Keys to Literacy materials and register online for our public trainings.

This year, we launched modified versions of our comprehension, vocabulary, and writing PD to address the specific needs of two groups who struggle with literacy skills: English Language Learners , and Students with Disabilities . These versions of our 2-day training meet the new requirements for Massachusetts teacher re-certification for 15 hours (professional development points) in each of these areas. For teachers who would rather access this PD online, we launched new ELL and SWD online courses that combine our comprehension and vocabulary instructional practices.
Finally, interest has been growing in our train-the-trainer option that enables large districts to provide Keys to Literacy professional development using in-house trainers. This fall, we are training literacy trainers from 4 large districts in North Carolina who will then train over 600 teachers during the coming school year.