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ARI Literacy Leadership

The Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) is a statewide K-3 initiative committed to supporting the development of high-quality instruction that will prepare all students with the literacy skills needed to meet or exceed grade-level standards. The goal of the ARI is to significantly improve reading instruction and ultimately achieve 100% literacy among public school students.

The Literacy Leader

According to Dr. Louisa Moats, most reading failure is unnecessary. We now know that classroom teaching itself, when it includes a range of research-based components and practices, can prevent and mitigate reading difficulty. Although home factors do influence how well and how soon students read, informed classroom instruction that targets specific language, cognitive, and reading skills beginning in kindergarten enhances success for all but a very small percentage of students with learning disabilities or severe dyslexia. Researchers now estimate that 95 percent of all children can be taught to read by the end of first grade, with future achievement constrained only by students’ reasoning and listening comprehension abilities.

With this important research in mind, take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  • As the lead learner, are you enrolled in the LETRS Elementary and/or LETRS Admin course?
  • How are you leading the Science of Reading in your school/district?
  • How do you ensure Science of Reading is at the core of everything you do?
  • Do you see evidence of Science of Reading in your K-3 classrooms? If not, why?
  • Are all of your K-3 teachers trained in Science of Reading or currently enrolled in LETRS? If not, what is your plan to ensure that all K-3 students are taught by Science of Reading trained teachers?
  • Does your data reflect that your curriculum is grounded in Science of Reading implementation? What changes need to be made to your instructional plan to align your core with Science of Reading practices?

Remember, it is the responsibility of the district and school leaders to develop a culture that is centered around the Science of Reading. How can ARI support your needs in this area?

Circles of Influence (Harvest Guide)

At a basic, harvest includes equipment preparation, combining, storing and delivering grain and preparing for next year’s spring planting. But there are many things you may wonder about in between. The Circles of Influence can serve as your harvest guide as you continue to grow your scholars on fertile ground through the implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act.

Farmers have soil samples taken throughout their fields to know how much of a specific nutrient is needed, in what amount and in what location. This helps give plants what they need while improving soil health and protecting natural resources. With your students in mind, what is the current state of the school in terms of academic growth?

  • What are the LEA’s and each school’s current literacy goals? Identified by which data sources? What screeners, informal assessments, and formative assessment are in place? Are they consistent districtwide?
  • How many students are below grade-level? How many students require “catch-up growth”? What are the LEA’s and each school’s current literacy gaps? What are the LEA’s and each school’s definition of “gap”? Identify among the Big 5 + 2 (Phonemic Writing) where data show instructional gaps.
  • How are data communicated between and among all schools in the district’s feeder pattern? How are data communicated between and among grade-levels in the same school?

Literacy Act Portfolios

The Literacy Task Force has completed its revision of the Alabama Literacy Act Portfolio for use in the 2022-2023 school year aligned to the 2021 English Language Arts Course of Study. This document is to be started at a minimum for all third graders who did not meet the minimum cut score on the 2nd Grade Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program (ACAP) Reading. One strategy that many districts have found beneficial is to collect the evidence outlined on pages 4 and 5 of the portfolio document for all third-grade students. This would be done within the day-to-day teaching of the standards in the progression of their literacy instruction. This is only a recommendation, but allows one to collect evidence on all students, ensures the instruction for all standards, and reduces additional time spent by embedding it in processes already being utilized. Please click on the Literacy Act Portfolio header to access the document.

Oral Language Module in Schoology

Even with a standard, working definition, many people remain confused about aspects of dyslexia. The following list addresses some of the questions and misunderstandings on the topic:

  • Dyslexia is not primarily a visual problem; it is a language-based problem.
  • Dyslexia does not mean seeing things backward and is not necessarily indicated by reversals of letters or words.
  • Dyslexia or reading disability occurs in people of ALL levels of intelligence, not just intellectually gifted.
  • Dyslexia is not caused by a lack of motivation or interest in reading. Lack of motivation to read and write may be a consequence of dyslexia because reading is very taxing and difficult for a dyslexic individual.
  • Dyslexia is not only a problem in families who do not read frequently and together; it can occur in ANY family.
  • Boys and girls are affected by dyslexia, with boys affected somewhat more than girls, but not overwhelmingly so.

Source: Basic Facts About Dyslexia & Other Reading Problems; Louisa Cook Moats and Karen E. Dakin; International Dyslexia Association, 2008.

Strong Leader, Strong Reader PLU

  • Analyze Early Literacy Screener, AlaKiDS, and deficiency data using a data analysis tool.​
  • Plan and lead a monthly reading data meeting.​
  • Walkthrough classrooms using the short forms provided or another SOR based tool you have discussed with your RLLS.

Oral Language Module in Schoology

The Oral Language Module is self-paced and earns 6 hours of credit.

Register in PowerSchool Professional Learning (course # 278101) for the course. The module (course) will load in your My Learning Opportunities within PowerSchool Professional Learning. You can access the module by clicking the blue hyperlink for the Oral Language module.

The module (course) can also be accessed through your ALSDE Schoology account by clicking the Courses tab. If you are unable to log into your ALSDE Schoology account, please email

Science of Reading Spotlight Schools

Science of Reading Spotlight Schools were selected to recognize schools’ progress toward students’ reading improvement and the implementation of Science of Reading practices, while supporting others to do the same.

Professional Learning Opportunity in Schoology!

Looking for strategies to help support struggling readers in grade 4 and beyond? Register in PowerSchool Professional Learning for these newly released courses designed by Alabama educators for Alabama educators!

The modules are designed for teachers and administrators who work with struggling readers in grades 4-9. Each module offers specific recommendations and effective instructional strategies aligned to the Science of Reading. The module (course) will load in your My Learning Opportunities within PowerSchool Professional Learning.

The module (course) can also be accessed through your ALSDE Schoology account by clicking the Courses tab. If you are unable to log into your ALSDE Schoology account, please email

*Each graphic is hyperlinked directly to the PowerSchool course for easy registration.

Early Literacy Survey

What kind of professional learning do Pre-K to Third Grade Educators Need?

Complete the survey to help the University of Alabama and the ALSDE know what professional learning opportunities to provide to teachers in the field.


Thank you for committing to expanding your knowledge base in the Science of Reading!

Coaching Corner

For coaching to be successful in your building, you must develop relationships and trust among your teachers. It is critical that they see you as a partner and not someone trying to correct their methods. Our role is not to “fix” teachers but instead to engage in collaborative partnerships with them to plan and support instruction that will have the greatest impact on student achievement. As with anything, there are certain dos and don’ts that can impact your opportunities to coach and mentor teachers. So let’s look at some things to avoid from Diane Sweeney, the top researcher and author on student-centered coaching.

Try These Powerful Coaching Moves Instead!

When you are spending time in classrooms in the midst of full or mini coaching cycles, here are some coaching moves that Diane Sweeney recommends that focus on what the students are doing instead of the teacher since the ultimate goal is always student-focused.