Cultivating Oral Language and Literacy Talent in Students (COLLTS)
Cultivating Oral Language Literacy Talent in Students (COLLTS) is an early childhood program comprised of units that promote the development of pre-reading skills, oral language proficiency, and background and conceptual knowledge through the use of interactive reading with high-quality children’s literature. The program uses six children’s books in English, and three companion books in Spanish chosen on the basis of their quality, text type (three narrative and three informational texts in English and one informational and two narrative texts in Spanish), rich language, appeal to young children, and the extent to which their content aligns with state content standards.
The COLLTS program is comprised of nine read- aloud units, each of which has five lessons. The lessons are systematically organized into pre-reading, interactive reading and post-reading activities. In Lessons One–Four, children listen to and engage in shared interactive reading of narrative or informational texts. In Lesson Five, children engage in activities to promote foundational reading and writing skills.
Led by Diane August, this Webinar recording provides an overview of COLLTS:
Each unit includes: a Teacher Guide to support pre-reading, interactive reading, and post-reading instruction. The Teacher Guide also offers suggestions for school and home extension activities to reinforce and extend skills and concepts taught during the lessons.
Picture cards with target vocabulary—key words, topic words, and for some units, bonus words; a writing handout; a family literacy take home handout.
School extension activities build on each books content with games, songs, and hands-on activities that include experiments for information text. Home extension activities further develop children’s oral language and emergent literacy skills in their home languages. A family literacy take-home handout offers parents and caregivers opportunities to support learning with activities, such as going to places in the community together, talking about experiences and documenting these experiences with logs and pictures.
Bringing the COLLTS Program to You
A Tailored Approach
Staff at the Center for ELLs at AIR provide professional development to prepare teachers to implement the COLLTS program and to create their own units that use COLLTS methods. All sessions are tailored to the audience of teachers and the target group of students for which the training is intended. Professional development also prepares coaches to support teachers and introduces administrators to the COLLTS program.
Professional Development Delivery
The COLLTS professional development takes a job-embedded approach. Job-embedded professional development (JEPD) refers to teacher learning that is grounded in day-to-day teaching practice and is designed to enhance teachers’ content-specific instructional practices to improve student learning (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Hirsh, 2009). JEPD produces enduring effects when it is matched to the school curriculum, state standards, and assessment of student learning; is compatible with daily school operations; and is framed to address the particular instructional needs for a teacher’s given assignment (Blank & de la Alas, 2009; Wei et al., 2009). We provide the COLLTS professional development to teachers to familiarize them with the COLLTS methods and materials. Once they have had initial training and experience implementing the units, they are eligible for training that teaches them to create their own shared interactive reading units that use COLLTS methods. We train literacy coaches in the COLLTS methods and materials and how to support teachers in implementing COLLTS lessons. Coaches in turn provide support to teachers in using the program. We are also available organize and moderate planning and discussion about COLLTS as part of a school’s professional learning community (PLC).
Suggested Training Scenarios
One-day foundational training
This full day of training introduces teachers to all of the components of the COLLTS program, gives teachers practice with using the program and provides time for teachers to integrate COLLTS into their daily language arts routines.
One-day training in lesson development
Staff from the Center for ELLs is available to assist teachers in developing their own lessons using the COLLTS routines. Center staff has teachers review and analyze exemplary COLLTS lessons and develop lessons using the COLLTS methods.
Training and Support for Coaches: This one-day training builds on the foundational training for teachers. It prepares coaches to support teachers’ implementation of the COLLTS program. Center staff also offers on-going, follow-up, remote support to coaches following the one-day, face-to-face training
Administrator Training: This ninety minute training provides an introduction and overview to the COLLTS program. Participants learn to use a checklist to help them assess teachers’ implementation of COLLTS in order to better support teachers in using COLLTS.