• Welcome to Literacyhead!

    A Literacyhead is someone who is intensely serious about exercising creative literacy, making connections across multiple literacies, pursuing thoughtful literacy as an individual and as a teacher, and constantly searching for ideas. Literacyheads may have expertise in different areas of literacy, but all are committed to children's literacy, passionate about the arts, incessant thinkers, and display a propensity for having fun
  • What is Literacyhead?

    We wanted to help teachers nurture their creative lives while they meet the demands of high accountability to which they are subject. We saw that art naturally differentiates lessons leading to more student engagement and less time planning. We love children's books and art, and the connections between the two make us positively giddy.
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  • Vocabulary Lessons

    In our "Visual Vocabulary" we select five words from a featured book in our Reading Lessons and provide four images that illustrate the meaning of each word. In accordance with vocabulary research, three of the images are examples of the word's meaning and the last one is a "non-example." In addition, we present a definition simple enough for students to remember and really "get" what the word means.
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  • High-frequency Word Lessons

    Here we've created sets of images and discussion prompts designed to help you teach high-frequency words with visual art. Use the six images and accompanying sentences to make concrete connections to these abstract words. These lessons pair wonderfully with vocabulary words, reading lessons, and writing lessons.
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Our Blog

Burkins & Yaris
  • In literacy education, one of our central aims is to help children grow to become independent and proficient readers. In fact, with the evolution of instructional standards over the past few years, “independent and proficient” has almost become cliche. But it is worth really considering these terms. Think about student independence and proficiency for a… The post The Four Agreements appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.

  • While there is a well-established practice of opening a lesson by telling students what you are going to teach them, it is important that we are thoughtful and intentional about this “what” in each lesson. One of the bedrock principles of Who’s Doing the Work thinking is that we keep the end in mind. The… The post Keeping the End in Mind: Thinking About Instruction appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.

  • Whenever we aim to accomplish something, it begins with a seed of an idea and a vision for what that idea can grow into with consistent attention. We start by setting our sights on the thing that we want and figuring out how we’re going to get there. Usually, in the beginning when the goal… The post Keeping the End in Mind appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.

  • In Reading Wellness,  we liken reading process to form during exercise. Ultimately, our goal for a reader is to put forth effort without compromising form, which in this reading metaphor would mean ignoring meaning or compromising accuracy. Really thoughtful attention to form, however, often requires lightening the load. Sometimes, this lightening of the load lets… The post Improving Our Practice with Something Easy appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.

  • Over the summer, Kim’s son Matthew attended a two-week, military-style leadership camp at Norwich University in Vermont. Each day began with an hour and half of Physical Training (PT) which included a vast array of exercises like hill sprints, stretching, planking, sit-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups.  Add to that other daily, grueling activities, such as marching… The post A False Sense of Security appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.

  • When time is of the essence, busy educators looking to grow as professionals are faced with difficult decisions about what to read.  Do they go for the book filled with lesson ideas that will immediately impact their teaching? Or, do they go for something with a strong, theoretical lens which can inform micro-decisions? Fortunately, the… The post What Will You Teach Tomorrow? appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.

  • As indicated by the subtitle, Who’s Doing the Work? is about teachers saying less so students can do more. That piques a lot of curiosity. People wonder about what it means to “say less so students can do more” and while it is nuanced in many ways, in simplest terms, it means this: letting students… The post Goosebump Moments appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.

  •   Like most areas of public interest, education is one of those topics subject to ongoing chatter about “what’s best” and “what’s most likely to reform or transform learning for all students.”  Exchange the words “how to teach reading” for the word “education” and you’ll find yourself raising the volume on the noise. Amidst such… The post Great Texts: Finding Love’s Signal Through All the Accountability Noise appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.

  • In Readers Front and Center: Helping All Students Engage with Complex Texts, Dorothy Barnhouse makes the point that, while the creators of the Common Core Standards advise teachers to “employ professional judgement to match texts to particular students and tasks,” “the reality in classrooms is that the role of the students and teachers has been… The post Lexile Confounders appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.

  • As we set (and write down) our short and long term goals, we inevitably work through the conventional thinking of writing our goals in categories, such as family, fitness, career, etc. There are a lot of ways to think about the areas of your life that need improvement. We’ve grappled with having too many categories… The post What’s in a Name? appeared first on Burkins & Yaris.