A growing body of research indicates that very few schools have been turned around without the intervention of a principal  who has set clear priorities and goals that are followed through with effective strategy(Marzano, Waters, & Mcnulty, 2005). As the literacy leaders in their school communities, principals model the beliefs, practices, and passion about literacy that have a direct impact on student learning. For those reasons, MSQI has identified literacy leadership as the foundation of all of the work we do.

To lead change in their schools, effective literacy leaders have a central belief system that is focused on student learning. Leaders support literacy in their buildings when they:

  • Articulate a literacy vision and annual goals
  • Model own literate life in interactions with adults and students
  • Commit to on-going self-growth and literacy development
  • Distribute literacy leadership roles across school (school leadership team, teacher leadership, literacy coordinator/coach)
  • Engage families around adolescent literacy
  • Provide space and time for both adult and student literacy learning
  • Develop and align systems for measuring effective literacy instruction
  • Align resources to literacy goals
  • Align school program to literacy goals
  • Develop external literacy partnerships

MSQI is founded on a strong set of research-based recommendations.  For leaders unfamiliar with Reading Next and Writing Next, we encourage you to add these documents to your reading list.  

For tools and resources to help support you in your literacy leadership development, see below: 

  • The purpose of this Adolescent Literacy Walk-Through for Principals (ALWP) is to help principals monitor and support adolescent literacy instruction in their schools more effectively. To meet the goals of improving adolescent literacy in grades four through twelve, principals must be familiar with what literacy instruction should include and how to assess the quality of classroom literacy instruction quickly and effectively. The ALWP can be used to build a secondary school leader’s literacy knowledge and to provide guidelines for structuring schoolwide professional development. As they work with teachers to improve instruction, school leaders could use this guide to help monitor literacy instruction in (1) late elementary school, (2) content-area classes in middle and high school, and (3) intervention groups or classes. The information gathered may be useful in planning and implementing ongoing professional development to support effective literacy instruction in individual classrooms and across grade levels and subject areas.
  • The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) reviews the existing research on different programs, products, practices, and policies in education. Our goal is to provide educators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions. We focus on the results from high-quality research to answer the question “What works in education?”
  • The National Center on Improving Literacy offers schools and districts tools and resources to find evidence-based professional development and effective approaches to screen, identify, and teach students with literacy-related difficulties, including dyslexia.
  • The MSQI Literacy Leadership Teams guide offers school leaders a cycle of learning to help form, set-up and initiate meaningful inquiry and planning for schoolwide professional learning.  
  • The Literacy Leader Self-Assessment Tool is a series of questions designed to support principals in identifying their own needs as a literacy leader.  
  • This sample Action Plan Template is aligned to the MSQI-Framework and designed to support school leadership teams in outlining their goals and plans for tiered assessment, literacy across the disciplines and strategic reading.  
  • The MSQI Programming Guide walks schools leaders and programmers through a process which helps to identify major literacy priorities alongside ensuring schools meet the mandated seat time for each content area.  

This alignment language to Advanced Literacies/Instructional Leadership Framework shows administrators how to leverage the work they are doing with MSQI in CEP meetings and other district/central sessions (slides 19-23).


A Culture of Literacy

Expanding the School Day

Creating Community through Book Clubs