Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in stockholm schools
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THE MULTILINGUAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE. Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in Stockholm schools. What has been done in the past? What is being done now? The future? Ann-Christin Lövstedt The Multilingual Research Institute (Språkforskningsinstitutet)

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Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in Stockholm schools

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Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in stockholm schools


Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in Stockholm schools

What has been done in the past?

What is being done now?

The future?

Ann-Christin Lövstedt

The Multilingual Research Institute (Språkforskningsinstitutet)

[email protected]

Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in stockholm schools

The current situation is that…

…there has been an increase in the gap between children from highly educated, high income families and children from unskilled, low income and families.

…compared to their native Swedish peers, immigrant students, on average, have weaker educational outcomes at all levels of schooling. Nearing the end of compulsory education, at age 15, there are very significant performance disadvantages for immigrant students.

…egalitarian policies notwithstanding, immigrants fare poorly, compared to Swedish natives. Their educational experience is not much better than that of immigrants in other countries.

OECD Reviews of Migrant Education, 2010

SCB, 2010

A lot of money has been spent to improve migrant students results

A lot of money has been spent to improve migrant students’ results

  • 1999-2004/2005: Metropolitan Policy (Storstadssatsningen). The government budgeted 2 billion SEK to improve living conditions in diverse, urban areas. Part of it was spent on education improvements.

  • 2004-2006 the City of Stockholm budgeted 35 million SEK for measures to accelerate literacy learning and and close the achievemnet gap, especially among second language learners and disadvantaged students.

  • The project ”Language and content development in the City of Stockholm” (”Språk- och kunskapsutveckling i Stockholms stad”) was given almost 19 million SEK.

Mother tongue

Pre-/primary/secondary schools



Action research projects

Professional development

A lot of things were done

Reading literacy

7 initiatives

Mother tongue support

14 initiatives

A lot of things were done…

Individualization of instruction at upper secondary school and adult education

8 (action) research projects

Action reserach project about the integration of language in the content areas of science and humanities in secondary school

Action research project about children’s language development in pre-schools

Action research project about literacy

Stockholm students meeting the requirements to enter year 10 2009

But in spite of all that, the gap is still there

Stockholm students meeting the requirements to enter Year 10 (2009)


28 percentage points

SIRIS, Skolverket, 2010

The multilingual research institute

The Multilingual Research Institute




Language content pd offers based on sfl theory

”Language & content” PD offers based on SFL theory

Level 1

Level 1

  • Scaffolding literacy learning (scaffolding strategies) in all subjects

  • Introduction to the Genre Approach to writing and supportive reading strategies across the curriculum

  • Using the functional model of language as a tool to analyse and plan effective literacy instruction

  • Building capacity and creating independent school literacy development through proffessional action learning teams

Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in stockholm schools

Teaching-learning cycle (from Rothery 1994)

Level 2

Level 2

  • Understanding the specific language of different subjects

  • Teaching strategies (connected to the functional model of language)

  • Building knowledge about language (KAL) that enhances student learning in all subject areas

Level 3

Level 3

  • An intensive approach to literacy and learning that targets both reading and writing and can be used in primary, secondary and tertiary education

  • Re-writes the classroom discourse pattern to scaffold the understanding of age approapriate curriculum texts

  • Uses what is learnt from reading as a powerful resource to enable the writing of high quality, age approaporate texts in all subjects

  • Action research based (data collection)

Reading to learn scaffolding cycle

Initiate-Response-Feedback cycle

Reading to Learn scaffolding cycle







Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in stockholm schools

Generations of genre based pedagogies (in Australia)

2000s reading across the curriculum

Reading to Learn

1990s writing across the secondary curriculum

Write it Right

1980s writing in the primary school

Writing Project

The stockholm reading to learn project 2009 2010

The Stockholm Reading to Learn Project 2009-2010

  • 7 schools: low, medium, high socioeconomic status

  • 22 teachers

    9 generalist teachers

    9 subject specialist teachers

    4 special needs teachers

  • Year levels of students taught

    K – Year 3: 5

    Year 4 – 6: 6

    Year 7 – 9: 9

    Year 10 – 12: 2

Data from 58 students

  • year 1: 6 students

  • year 4: 18 ”

  • year 6: 6 ”

  • year 7: 6 ”

  • year 8: 12 ”

  • year 10: 6 ”

  • Mainly second language learners

  • High, average, low performing students

Program design

Program design

  • Time span: A whole school year (September 2009/May 2010)

  • PD dates: 4 two-day workshops for the teachers: October, December, March and May

  • PD content: Reading to Learn D. Rose (2009)

  • Teacher requirements:

    • study the R2L modules and CD between the workshops

    • implement the R2L cycle at least 3 times (lessons) per week

    • video record some of the R2L lessons

    • collect data on student achievement (see below)

  • Support from project staff:

    • school visits between workshops: feedback on video recordings, discussion about implemention of R2L and assessment of students texts etc.

  • Final conference: Dr David Rose and Ass. Prof. Kristina Love as keynote

    speakers; teachers presenting workshops on their implementation of R2L

Data collection

Data collection

  • Selection of 6 focus students by every teacher: 2 high, 2 medium and 2 low performing students

  • Standardised reading comprehension test (DLS) - pre and post program implementation from every focus student (and the whole class)

  • Assessment of student texts by the teacher, (factual and narrative genres pre and post theimplementation of R2L) using R2L assessment criteria (David Rose, 2009)

  • Data about teachers, schools and students

  • Ongoing evaluation data at the teacher workshops and during the school visits: documentation, teachers’ own view points and experiences about the implementation of R2L, their narratives about student performances etc.



Development of writing in R2L: narrative

Sample of 20 students from 3 schools


Assessment score








Development of achievement in reading comprehension test sample of 26 students in 3 schools

Development of achievement in reading comprehension test (sample of 26 students in 3 schools)



Assessment score


Top and bottom students cohorts averaged across classes year 4 8 reading comprehension test

Top and bottom students cohorts averaged across classes year 4-8 (reading comprehension test)

growth=45% L pre to post

growth=12% H pe to post

Assessment score

gap = 38%

gap = 52%

Assessment of growth in year 10 eva oivio h sselby gymnasium new arrivals program

Assessment of growth in Year 10Eva Oivio, Hässelby gymnasium - new arrivals program

Reading test results based on Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in stockholm schools

My dear friend!

I’m worried that I don’t have frends. I don’t foroget when we climbed trees and xxxx. We play together with me. I deremed often.When came I Swede i chenged temperament. Because I was alone all the time. but maybe know you not how much mis you. I want back before the life that lived we. When we contact each other I so glad but now totally saad. I stop to laugh i thinck you often. Now know I not where you the life your mobile didn’t answer maybe spok you I don’t want to stotop contat me and you. One day will I Somalia hope that we see each other in Somalia. you are sad after me. I know you are lonely. I don’t want leave alone. but is war therefore escap I to Swede

Sweden is peace country I so very glad. I go school free and food

. Hope I that will the war end. and we see each other when there

Give my greetings to all friends don’t forgat me. I miss you much kiss and hug

xxxx= unintelligable

Year 10 Eva Oivio,

Hässelby gymnasium - new arrivals program

Pre-program writing sample

Strategic support to accelerate literacy improvement in stockholm schools

Something I will never forget

It happened in may and the weather was suffocatingly hot and the sun stood in the middle of the sky. I visted my friends and neigbour before I was going. After that I dressd and I stoodd in fron of the mirror and saw myself. I was nervous and I was extremely distressal I left my mother and litle brother.

My mother and I hugged each other in bosom a warm and I didn’t let go but I want be left in my mother’s bosom. We had taken a taxi out from city to airport. My mother was very understandin and she comfort me that I would retun a dey and we would meet in a ordinar way. She said that everything would be all right and that it was jus cal if it was something. we passed several the fields and there are no bigg house just huts. The car turned to the right. We saw a lot of people stod in front of airport some of they return home.

I was in the aircraft and my mother stayed outside in the airport. The planes started to fly. I don’t believe to see my mother a dey on life. When my mother disappeart in the down in aircraft. I began to dispair my eyes the tears ran I became worried and felt sorrow in my my heart.

I come another country that was differ from my home country. The country has a heterogeneous population and the language was different of my language. I come out in Arliland I saw my cousin who waited for me. We embraced each other. Then drove we awau from Arliland towards home. I felt loneliness and I thoughd a loit my mother and my little brother. I was in bad in mood

The next day I callade my mother and I felt glad. Aftyer several month I talked her that I would visit her. Suddenly my mother didn’t want to visit her. I was surprisede. Mother said she was going to come here. I was very glad to again see my mother and my little brother. After a year ago my mother and brother got their residence permi in Swedan. I felt big joy. After a wek called and she said that would come tomorrow. The next day I went to airport and waited them in the airport. I lookedhappy.

Suddenly, I saw my mother coming out of the big door look around her self, her eyes searching, catch sight of her longed-for daughter. We embraced each other. I felt glad andf safety and sucked in the lovely fragrance of mother. We looked nicely. In time ended worried and on the contrary I happy when my familj livred I again.

Year 10 Eva Oivio, Hässelby gymnasium - new arrivals program Post program writing sample

Teacher observations about successes for students some examples

Teacher observations about Successes for Students Some examples…..

  • Students are becoming more literate, that is they are not just decoding, they are developing deeper understanding

  • Good progress students can be taught by anyone – students who struggle are the challenge for teachers and R2L provides a methodology for these students

  • Students are now implementing the R2L strategies independently

  • The achievement gap between the highest and lowest achievers decreases

  • Students understand content of subjects better

  • Students are now writing well structured texts and achieving well in National Tests

Teachers comments about their own learning some examples

Teachers’ comments about their own learning Some examples….

  • Teachers “dare” to use more difficult texts

  • Before R2L teachers didn’t have a methodology to work with texts, students often copied and drew pictures

  • Teachers can now use more difficult texts and a wider range of genres eg. not just simple stories in the primary school

  • Previously teachers just hoped that a lot of reading in general would be enough

  • Elaborations take all students understandings to a higher level

  • Other teachers can see the difference between students who are doing R2L and students from other classes who are not

  • We are now teaching to the weakest students not just the top ones

Learnings of the project team

Learnings of the project team …

  • Teachers need time – besides the workshops – to deepen their knowledge about R2L and the language in their specific subject areas

  • The importance of being explicit and clear about the data collection

  • Reading comprehension tests not totally satisfactory (culturally biased)

  • It is possible to accelerate the literacy development for all students

  • The low performing students enhanced their learning and became more active learners

  • Hard work pays off! Even very experienced teachers articulated that although it was hard work, it was the most worthwhile PD they had ever participated in and they had never seen such a dramatic improvement in student writing before !

  • R2L engages all students and gives them access to abstract and theoretical knowledge from reading. We no longer need to dumb down the curriculum!

Reading to learn 2010 2011

Reading to Learn 2010/2011

In Stockholm:

  • 70 Stockholm teachers in the training program

  • 22 teachers (from last year’s project) in a R2L Mentor program

    In Sigtuna:

  • 17 secondary teachers from one specific school in another municipality in the training program

Future needs of stockholm schools

Future needs of Stockholm schools

  • Ongoing efforts to build capacity through school-based Professional Action Learning Teams

  • Ongoing support for school-based Literacy Leaders

  • Ongoing training of teachers in the R2L methodology

  • Professional Development for school leaders to become effective leaders of literacy and learning

  • Further specific literacy Professional Development for teachers of all subject areas

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