A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

A Compact for Reading - February 1999
Write Your Compact

The goal of the second step of the Compact process is to write your school's Compact for Reading so that it addresses the shared responsibilities of students, families, school administrators and teachers, and learning partners in the community in meeting the needs of the student in reading.

The First Meeting of the Compact Invention Team

The Core Compact Team facilitates the first meeting with the Compact Invention Team members. The facilitator, who is designated by the Core Team, leads the meeting. During the meeting the facilitator:

Meeting Checklist

Directions: Use this checklist to make sure you have completed all necessary steps in organizing the initial meetings. Has the Core Team:

checkmarkConducted and distributed an inventory of the literacy needs and resources of the school?
checkbox Yes checkbox No
checkmarkPrepared a meeting outline or agenda?
checkbox Yes checkbox No
checkmarkPrepared a team roster?
checkbox Yes checkbox No
checkmarkEstablished the ground rules for the meeting?
checkbox Yes checkbox No
checkmarkDetermined the process by which the team will write the Compact for Reading?
checkbox Yes checkbox No
checkmarkProvided a translator for non-English-speaking team members?
checkbox Yes checkbox No
checkmarkProvided easel boards, paper, tape, and markers for each break-out group?
checkbox Yes checkbox No

Getting Down to Work

Explaining the Results of the Literacy Inventory

The first item on the work agenda is for the facilitator to report and explain the findings of the inventory of literacy resources and current levels of student achievement. The facilitator provides a handout that describes in detail the Core Team responses to the Literacy Inventory and that summarizes student achievement data.

Identifying Partner Commitments

Once the results of the literacy inventory are understood, the facilitator asks the larger group to form small break-out groups, with parents in one group, teachers in another, principals and administrators in another, and community members in a fourth group.

Using Activity Sheets 2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D, the facilitator hands out each sheet to the appropriate group (2Ato parents; 2B to teachers, and so forth). Members of each group are told that they are going to brainstorm ideas on how they, as a special constituency in the school, can make a commitment to achieve the goal of the Compact--so that the school, its families, and community members can all work together to improve students' reading achievement.

Remind each group that in brainstorming, no idea is a "dumb" idea. All ideas should be written down for later consideration, without judgment from the group. Provide easels, large pieces of paper, marker pens, and tape for each group, so that pages of ideas can be hung up at the front of the room.

Ask each group to identify one person to present the small group's ideas to the larger group. Have each group look over its individually tailored Activity Sheet.

Then ask each group to write its partnering name ("Teachers," "Parents," "Administrators," "Community Members") at the top of a piece of easel paper, and look through the list of commitments on the page. These are commitments that can help to form a strong Compact for Reading.

Arrange the commitments in order of priority, keeping in mind the school's resources that were identified by the literacy inventory. Team members may add new items to the list as desired.

Reconvene the break-out groups and ask each group to present its list of top priorities for commitments that should be added to the school's Compact for Reading. Make sure to reserve enough time to evaluate and edit each group's findings in line with the school's needs and resources.

Writing the First Draft of the Compact

Reconvened as one team, the Compact Invention Team should now choose 5 to 10 key commitments for each partner to be included in the school's Compact for Reading. These may be chosen by:

Time is an important consideration during your team meetings. Creating the first draft of the Compact may take more than two hours. If you run out of time, schedule the next meeting time and place before the participants leave to ensure that most of the team members will be available to continue writing the Compact.

Writing the Final Draft

1. Wide Review and Feedback

It is vital that members of the school community who did not serve on the Invention Team have an opportunity to voice their opinions about the content of the draft Compact that has been developed and make suggestions. Once the draft is completed, the Core Team should distribute it to the Invention Team members, all school staff, parents, and other interested community members for written feedback by a set date.

The team member distributing the draft for wide review should remind readers of the needs the team is addressing, the resources available to meet those needs, and the process used to create the first draft. As with other school communications, the letter should be translated into relevant foreign languages. Special outreach meetings should be held to reach busy people who might not respond to written requests for feedback.

2. Revision

Core Team members compile the feedback and incorporate the relevant comments into a revised draft. As a result of this process, there may be more than the recommended 5 to 10 commitments in each category.

3. The Final Compact for Reading

The Compact Invention Team then reconvenes. The Core Team shares the feedback they and the Invention Team have received. The Invention Team discusses the revisions (this may be done in break-out groups), goes through the voting process again to identify no more than 10 commitments in each category, and approves the school's Compact for Reading. Completing the Compact may take more than one meeting.

Finally, the Core Team develops a letter of introduction and explanation to the Compact for Reading. This letter can summarize the current status of literacy in the school community, including areas of success and areas needing improvement, the roster of Core and Invention Team members, the process used to develop the Compact, and a statement of support by the team members for the widespread implementation of the Compact.

Making the Compact a Part of the School Community

Now that the Compact for Reading has been written and printed in final form with a letter of introduction and explanation, the next step in making the Compact a part of school life is to talk to the entire school community about the Compact. There are several ways the Core and Invention Teams can accomplish this:


[Activity Sheet 1A]  up  [Activity Sheet 2A]