2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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The TC Reading and Writing Program


The TC Reading and Writing Program

Lucy Calkins, Robinson Professor of English Education

For nearly three decades, Lucy Calkins, Robinson Professor of English Education, and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) have been leading large-scale, school based professional development in literacy, training hundreds of thousands of teachers and working with schools and districts in more than 40 cities.
Calkins, author of the acclaimed The Art of Teaching Reading, The Art of Teaching Writing and Units of Study for Teaching Writing K–2 and 3–5, has championed “balanced literacy” that engages students in reading texts for meaning and turns the confrontation of “problems” into teachable classroom moments.
“We simply want to support literacy reform on a large scale,” Calkins says. “We think we're changing the world.”
TCRWP’s work—which includes on-site coaching, more than 150 Calendar Conference Days per year and four Institutes every summer—has been linked to significant test score gains in New York City, Chicago, Seattle and elsewhere:
  • Data from 31 Project schools with continually high levels of involvement in TCRWP across the past decade show students in Project schools in New York City tend to score significantly higher than their peers in other city schools;
  • The English Language Arts proficiency rate of students in all grades in New York City schools working with TCRWP increased by 18 percent from 2007 to 2009;
  • In 2009, 73.5 percent of fourth grade students in all TCWRP schools scored in the highest brackets on English Language Arts test scores, versus 69 percent of the rest in New York City;
  • Since introduction of TCRWP to Seattle public schools, student achievement has improved dramatically, especially in middle schools. The Seattle middle schools’ passing rates on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) rose from 57.8 percent of the students meeting or exceeding the standard in 2005 to 75.1 percent of the students meeting or exceeding the standard in 2009, as compared with the state increase from 61.2 percent in 2005 to 69.8 percent in 2009. 
“The collaboration with Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing Project has been instrumental in our school reform efforts,” says Seattle’s Ruth Medsker, Education Director K–8 & Middle Schools. “The positive achievement gains have crossed over into all academic content areas. Our middle and K–8 schools are transformed as a result of the introduction of the new pedagogy of Readers and Writers Workshop.
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