P. O. BOX 2120
October 4, 1996


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Early Literacy Institutes

  The Department of Education announces a major professional
  development initiative to support the implementation of
  early literacy skills contained in the Virginia Standards of
  Learning for English for kindergarten and grade one.  The
  Early Literacy Institutes will be offered regionally in four
  locations and will be provided free of charge.  A
  Continental breakfast, lunch and all materials also will be
  provided for participants.  The only costs to local school
  divisions will be those incurred for travel, additional
  meals, and lodging.
  Research that has been conducted over the past 10-15 years
  on emerging literacy repeatedly identifies three conditions
  that must be in place for children to learn to read:
  phonemic/phonological awareness, phonics/alphabetic
  principle, and a meaningful print context.  These conditions
  are reflected in the Virginia Standards of Learning for
  English at kindergarten and grade one.  The Early Literacy
  Institutes will seek to ensure that a substantial cadre of
  teachers across Virginia understands those conditions and,
  further, knows how to include them in pre-reading and
  beginning reading instruction.
  Divisions are invited to send a team of two-four persons to
  one of the institutes.   Each institute is limited to a
  total of 75 persons.  Kindergarten and first grade teachers
  and other professional instructional personnel who work with
  children at these grade levels (i.e., Title I, special
  education resource, speech language pathologists) are
  suggested attendees.   Divisions also are encouraged to
  select persons who will provide training in these critical
  skills to other professional personnel who work with
  beginning readers in their own school divisions. 
  The Early Literacy Institutes will be held on the following
     November 4-5        Sussex County, Wakefield 4H Center
     November 11-12      Charlottesville, Sheraton Inn
     November 14-15      Bedford County, Bernard's Landing
     November 20-21      Fredericksburg, Holiday Inn South
  Registration information will be sent directly to key
  instructional leaders and all reading, Title I, and  special
  education supervisors in each school division.
  Completed registration forms for the institutes should be
  returned to Kitty Rodgers, VA Department of Education by
  FAX, 804/786-1703.  Please note that participants must make
  their own hotel reservations for the institutes in
  Charlottesville and Fredericksburg.  Reservations for
  overnight accommodations for the institutes located in
  Bedford County and Sussex County will be handled through the
  Department of Education.  Descriptions of accommodations are
  included on the registration pages.  If you have any
  questions, please call Kitty Rodgers at 804/225-2662.