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Dedicated to Teachers

PLC Series: Savoring the Struggle

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Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series! This month we discuss cultivating literacy-rich classrooms.

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“When we let children see us struggle as we read difficult texts and when we show them the satisfaction that comes from working through that struggle, we teach them that it’s an integral part of learning, not just in reading but all disciplines. Children can then see a path from uncertainty to success and meaning.”

-Ellin Keene in her Heinemann Digital Library article “Getting Kids to Savor the Struggle”

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As adults, we know that reading and writing do not happen by magic. However, kids might not be necessarily aware that this is the case!  We need children to see us struggle, not just to learn that this is a part of the work, but that the struggle itself is a joyful part of the process. By observing models of what it looks like and sounds like to struggle and then be successful, our students can begin to “savor the struggle” in their own reading and writing lives.  

Take a look at this conversation between Ellin Oliver Keene and Stephanie Owings, a literacy coach in Blue Springs, Missouri. Stephanie shares her experience that students believe struggle is a sign of a bad reader and don’t always understand that it’s an essential part of the process of reading. 


Do you share your reading and writing life with your students and highlight the rhythms of  struggle and success? How can you add this into your daily interactions with students?

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Looking for more PD on this topic?

Online: Join Ellin Keene along with Dan Feigelson in a 3-part webinar series starting Nov. 28th: Using Reading Conferences to Foster Student Engagement, Agency and Critical Thinking. Click the title to register! 

Off-site: Which authors are coming to your area for one day workshops? Click here to browse the list by region, author, or state.

On-Site: Ellin Oliver Keene is a Heinemann Professional Development provider most sought after for her long-term professional development residencies in partnership with Heinemann Professional Development. Click here for an overview of the Keene Residency!

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Ellin Keene (@ellinkeene) is a well-known author and popular speaker in the field of education, and conducts workshops, multi-day institutes, school-based seminars, and long-term residencies all around the country and abroad. Her emphasis is on long-term, school-based professional development and strategic planning for literacy learning. Ellin has been a classroom teacher, staff developer, and adjunct professor of reading and writing. She currently serves as senior advisor at Heinemann, chairing the Heinemann Fellows initiative, now in its second season.

Ellin is the author and/or co-author of several best-selling books, including Mosaic of Thought, The Teacher You Want to Be: Essays about Children, Learning, and Teaching and the Not This, but That series.  

Topics: Education, PLC Series, Reading, Writing, Comprehension, Literacy

Date Published: 10/10/16

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