I just completed two days of training for LEAD 21, which is Ankeny’s new literacy curriculum.  I know that there will be a steep learning curve with this new curriculum.  It is overwhelming at times to think of teaching a brand new curriculum in reading.  In spite of this fact, there are two aspects of the curriculum that make me really excited!   I learned more about both of these areas during our training sessions.


Each unit contains 3-5 overarching vocabulary words.  These words are referred to over and over throughout the unit.  Students have an opportunity to use them in their reading, writing, and conversations.  The words are posted throughout the room and support rich language development.  In addition, each differentiated reading group has several vocabulary words each week.  These words are listed on a chart and will be color-coded  by group and then posted in my classroom.  Again, students will have the opportunity to use these words in their written language and oral communication.  While I have always discussed new words and written words on the dry erase board for students to see, I have not had a systematic method for introducing and teaching vocabulary words.  This curriculum provides that very opportunity and I am excited to see where it takes my students!


The curriculum focuses on a comprehension strategy during whole group instruction AND small group instruction.  All of the students will be working on the same comprehension skill such as determining importance or visualizing.  This consistency throughout the classroom will allow for some excellent conversations between students during reading.  It also will allow for the opportunity to integrate the reading comprehension skill into other curricular areas such as math and social studies.  In the past, I have taught all of the comprehension skills, but the teaching has been done at different times depending upon what reading group a student is in.   This new method of teaching comprehension strategies seems to be a more consistent, systematic approach to teaching comprehension and I looking forward to implementing it in my classroom.

About Amy

I am a first grade teacher in Ankeny, Iowa. My husband and I got married last summer and are loving being newlyweds!! In my free time, I enjoy running, working out, reading, cooking, and spending time with my family and friends. Education is a passion of mine and I am working on my Masters of Education. I am also a devoted Christ follower and seek to honor and glorify Him through my life as a wife, teacher, daughter, sister, and friend.
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One Response to LEAD 21

  1. Glenda Fitzgerald says:

    I just found your website. I love your picture in front of the flowers. Is that your garden? It certainly is beautiful and now that we are in the full-force of autumn and only weeks away from winter, I already miss my own flowers!
    I am writing you in respoonse to your entry on the training you received on your new reading curriculum, Lead 21. My own school district, in particular 2nd-5th grade teachers, just chose this curriculum, with 1st grade teachers not voting for it. they are incredibly upset, given our school district has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on guided reading professional development during the past 7 years. My question to you is this…Now that you have had time with Lead 21, since your two day training in June, how is it working for you and are you happy with it? Is it actually providing your students with what they need or are you needing to supplement this curriculum?
    I am a part-time graduate student as well, at the University of Illinois at the Champaign-Urbana campus. I am working on my PhD in curriculum & Instruction, focusing on literacy development for ALL students. Currently, I am conducting a case study of three very different parents, their home literacy environment, and how their support or lack of support factors into the literacy development of their child who is currently receiving Reading Recovery. I teach at an elementary school in my home town & am working at the K-2 grade levels as a Reading Recovery teacher & also provide reading intervention for K-2 RtI.
    I love your website, as I am also a follower of Christ & could not do what I love to do without God’s work in my life.
    Thank you for all you are doing by encouraging others & sharing your professional experience.

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