LCSD literacy program looks to take the fear away from writing

Everyone understands the importance of teaching kids how to read and write, but Lakeland Catholic School District’s approach is opening doors on the path to literacy.

It’s the second year of LCSD’s literacy programs, and their programs like guided reading, SEEDS, and digital literacy are showing positive results in the classroom.

Joe Marion, Grade 5 teacher at Holy Cross Elementary School, says SEEDS is a writing prompt. They can be anything from a poem, a picture, or an article.

Then students then write for four minutes about what they think about and share their writing with their classmates.

“Basically, the motto behind SEEDS is plant a seed and grow a writer,” said Marion. “I use SEEDS because in my experience, especially at this age, students have a lot of fears and stresses that are associated with writing, and seeds are the perfect tool to remove those stresses for writing.”

And students seem to love it. His fifth-graders Aiden and Max noticed the impact of SEEDs has had on them.

“I had spoken to a few I asked did seeds improve your writing. He had mentioned to me that it encouraged him to write a lot more because he used to get writing block. ‘I like how Mr. Marion said if we had nothing to write about we could always write about what you noticed or wondered.'”

“Another student had mentioned that ‘seeds inspired me to write more at my house. In fact, I’m writing a small book, based on something I started during seeds.’ That was really eye-opening to me,” said Marion.

Marion said he finds more students more willing to share what they wrote, and the fear of writing is removed by seeds.

Literacy coach Julie Chorney helps the teachers plan the different literacy strategies.

“We’ve been working for years with esteemed colleagues like Dr. Stephen Lane about helping our kids, like you say the old librarian says kids don’t read anymore, in our school district they do because we’ve supported them on that journey,” said Chorney.

In one of their other approaches, guided reading, students work in concentrated groups of 3-5 with a teacher, exploring what they’ve read.

“I really liken it to being on a sports team having the teacher as a coach sitting right there, getting that one-on-one prompting right in the moment.

“And being able to show your coach or your teacher how you’re doing with it, your strengths and your area of need are and getting the nudge to move to the next level of understanding. But also playing as a team and negotiating the meaning of what’s been read,” said Chorney.

LCSD communicators director, Amanda Wildman, says they want to get kids excited about reading from early age.

“The thing we want to do with our kids is inspire them to be lifelong readers. We want them to read because they love reading and we want to develop a passion in them for literacy and reading.