Welcome to the Comox Valley Schools literacy homepage.  We are a district located on the east coast of Vancouver Island nestled in a beautiful temperate rainforest on the unceded traditional territory of the Pentlatch, Ieeksun, Sahtloot and Sasitla people, known collectively today as the K’ómoks First Nation.  

This website has collections of Literacy strategies and activities.  We hope the suggestions you find on this site are helpful to you as you consider your learners, and help them grow as readers, writers, speakers and thinkers. 

Words on Wednesdays, Jan 24

In this video, Alison Walkley shares about how she used the Story Map portion of the District Literacy Assessment to scaffold her students into deep understanding of story elements through familiar shared texts, discussion and story workshop.

Words on Wednesdays, Jan 31

In this session we cover two strategies for building stamina with print and engaging with text for comprehension. These strategies can be valuable for many ages: “Pause, Look, Think” is a useful strategy for building stamina and/or noticing the features of text; “Read, Think, Draw” is a favourite Faye Brownlie strategy for engaging with text to understand story line, or record new information from what we read.

Words on Wednesdays Jan 17

In this video we learn about two strategies from Jennifer Serravallo’s book Reading Strategies 2.0 that pertain to early Literacy forays into print!

Words on Wednesday: February 7

The way we think about our instructional chunks during the week can free us up to design literacy instruction with more intention and more space, and it can even help us find minutes we didn’t think we had.

Words on Wednesday: February 14

We know that oral language is a key component of learning to read—after all, reading is a conversation in your head! Through conversation and discussion, students develop new vocabulary, puzzle through story plot lines, connect to characters and learn to listen to each other. All of these come together to deepen comprehension of text. In this video, we see how Colleen Reimer teaches and uses Turn and Talk effectively in her classroom.

Feb 28: Connecting With Character using Think/Say Bubbles

This strategy from Jennifer Serravallo’s book, Reading Strategies 2.0, helps students deepen their comprehension by developing inferring skills based on what they know about characters in the story. In the process of building understanding of character, this strategy literally “gives voice” to the characters as children read. Lindsay Reynolds, a grade 2/3 teacher, has used this strategy very effectively with her class and this video gives us a real-life glimpse into how it works.

Words on Wednesdays: March 6

Reading with Purpose: setting goals

These two strategies from Jennifer Serravallo help students develop their skills in attention to text and intentions for reading by encouraging self-monitoring. These are important skills in the long-term goal of engagement and motivation. These simple strategies lay the framework for talking about what we do when we are reading and how we want to grow stronger as readers.

WoW for March 13: Story Workshop and Loose Parts with Intermediates

In this video we see how two teachers use a story workshop model with loose parts in intermediate classes. The value of this activity is myriad: it highlights student voice, it places oral language at the centre, it has a high accessibility factor and it contributes to triangulated assessment. It is a highly engaging, powerful tool for students of any age and hopefully this video encourages you to try it out!

WoW April 3: Conversation Cards

In this video we learn about the Conversation Cards that Angela Pringle, CST at Huband Park Elementary, created to provide opportunities for families and classrooms to have meaningful and fun conversation together. Oral language matters and the skills it builds in our students has lifelong impacts for them. The social norms around conversation and interpersonal skills required for good conversation are not necessarily a given amongst our students, so this is a good way to model, encourage, and enjoy conversation with kids. The cards can be used in the classroom and shared with families too!

Here is the link for the Talking Box pdfs referred to in the video.

WoW April 10: Building Fluency

In this video we learn about four strategies from Jennifer Serravallo (Reading Strategies 2.0) that can help our students focus on their fluency skills. Fluency is a bridge between decoding and comprehension. It makes the words come alive and engages our emotions which spurs our thinking and connections to text. In this way it is central to our enjoyment of reading.

WoW April 17: Getting  Started with Bookmaking

In this video we dive into a (very!) condensed version of my workshop on Bookmaking and Writer’s Workshop. This model of writing instruction highlights student voice, choice, and meaningful learning as a community of writers who notice and name what they are learning from other writers. This first video of two outlines how you might get started on this highly rewarding way of teaching writing with your students. Part 2 will look at conferring and responsive teaching.

WoW April 24: Getting  Started with Bookmaking pt. 2

In this video we build on what began last week on Getting Started With Bookmaking. This week it’s all about what the teacher does to design meaningful instruction.

WoW May 1, 2024: Literacy on the Move! 

In this video Jina Taylor, SD71 Physical Literacy Teacher, shares some of her favourite games that incorporate literacy skills with letters and words into action packed movement! We know that movement helps consolidate memorization and bringing these two domains together can build stronger connections for kids as they show what they know, on the move!


WoW May 15, 2024

CSI: Colour, Symbol, Image

In this video Joanna Fournier from Brooklyn Elementary shares how she has used this favourite strategy with her students to deepen their connection to texts and develop their capacity for deep thinking. Taken from “Making Thinking Visible” by Ritchart, Church and Morrison, this strategy can be used in any grade.

links: Project Zero Thinking Routines ToolboxThinking Routines

WoW May 22, 2024

Supporting Writing with Story Workshop

This video brings together two of my favourite topics: Story Workshop and Bookmaking. In this video, Catherine Munro from Courtenay Elementary shares how scaffolding Story Workshop for her young writers resulted in writing that was meaningful, followed a clear story line and resulted in books that are sources of pride and joy for her students! If you are looking for a way to “level up” your Story Workshop, or get kids thinking about writing in a more rigorous and fulsome way, this video will inspire you!