Central York School District

Team Members: Lauri Brady, Katie Hartman, Matt Miller, Kristen Wertz, Jami Zimmerman

Community: IU-13 Year 1, 2010-2011

Walt Disney once said, “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” The question is, how do we hook kids in the quest to find that treasure? The purpose of the “Inspiring Connected Readers” project is to improve student comprehension and metacognition through increased independent reading, reading response blogs, and collaboration between classrooms and across grade levels. Teachers involved in the project designed assessments and lessons that would help students explore a variety of genres and media, broaden & increase their independent reading selections, and encourage higher-order thinking and strategy use. Participating students used 21st century literacy skills to connect and engage in authentic book discussions and demonstrate their ability to be thoughtful and independent readers!


How do we help students become more thoughtful and independent readers?


  1. Increase the amount of time spent reading independently.
  2. Participate in collaborative book discussions using online tools.
  3. Demonstrate higher level thinking about materials read and strategies used for reading.


  • Pre/Post-survey of reading interests and attitudes
  • Chart or Graph of materials read weekly (collected via a Google form)
  • Reading response logs in discussion forums/blogs
  • Content analysis/rubric—How do we assess thoughtful and independent?

Week 1: Feb. 22 – 25 – Give survey – Students make recordings – Lauri visits to introduce different types of media/Intel ranking – Lauri-Put Wordle on Wiki based on survey responses

Week 2: Feb. 28 – Mar. 4 – Classroom jars should be set up to record material read – Teacher does follow-up lesson about genre/Intel ranking

Week 3: Mar 7 – 10 – Monday: PLP Webinar #4 & planning for Thursday’s videoconference – Start class blogs/Moodle for reading accountability

Week 4: Mar. 14 – 18 – Group videoconference to introduce our collaborating classrooms. â—¦ Introduction of class â—¦ Five things you should know about us, Reading is… (finish the sentence), Questions to ask each other â—¦ Use the Flip camera to record parts of the videoconference

Week 5-6: March 21-April 1 – PSSA testing – Teachers will set up and add users to class blogs. – Plan out measurement strategy for thoughtful & independent (see rubric linked above) – Design & share rubric for responses with students

Week 7: April 4-April 8 – Introduce blogs to students (writing a response, commenting & replying) – Some started previous week – Continue gathering weekly numbers for media reading

Week 8: April 11-15 – PLP webinar & group face-to-face meeting – Continue blogging & gathering weekly totals

Weeks 9-11 – Continue blogging & gathering weekly totals – Resurvey students – Document progress in pictures!! 🙂 – Record changes in reading attitudes with Flip Cam in final week – Prepare our wiki for presentation (Lauri) – Upload video to PLP YouTube – Pull student examples of before/after thoughtful & independent responses w/rubric – Teacher paragraph for board about final thoughts/reaction

Learn about the results of this project by visiting the team’s assessment and results page.
The team has created a wiki for their project and included information on how to replicate this project at your school. Learn more about the project here.


About Action Research Projects

Action research is a process in which Powerful Learning Team members collaboratively examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully. Action research is:

  • Disciplined inquiry into a problem or possibility within the school or classroom
  • Collaborative and usually takes place in a community of practice
  • Meaningful, positive, and reflective
  • Data-driven, action-based, improvement-focused
  • Transformative
View all Action Research
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Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice. She works with schools and districts from around the world helping them to infuse technology into their curriculums and by leading other digital conversion efforts. Sheryl also consults with governments, educational organizations and non-profits in development of their various professional learning initiatives. Sheryl is a sought-after presenter at national and international events, speaking on topics related to digital and online learning, teacher and educational leadership, online community building, and other educational issues impacting children of poverty. Sheryl served on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Board of Directors for six years. She co-authored The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age with Lani Ritter Hall. Sheryl has four children and four grandsons, Luke, Logan, Levi and Tanner and a trio of dachshunds. You can find out more on her blog and on Twitter @snbeach.

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