TSR Connect
A Closer Look

Sunday, March 30, 2014



Save the Date for the 4th Annual TSR Summer Institute in San Antonio at the Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel from July 8-11, 2014!

Join us for the next Lunch and Learn call on Friday, April 18 from 12:30 - 2:00 PM.

We will be sending more information about End-of-Year (EOY) planning soon via email.


TSR Early Childhood Summer Institute Returning to San Antonio!

Preparations for the 4th Annual TSR Early Childhood Summer Institute are well under way! The Institute is returning to San Antonio at the Wyndam Riverwalk Hotel (formerly the Crowne Plaza Riverwalk). Mark your calendars for July 9-11, 2014. TSR Lead Agents and Improving Teacher Preparation (ITP) participants are also invited to join us on July 8 for pre-conference sessions and business meetings. 

For those of you new to TSR, the Summer Institute is a free professional development conference for early childhood professionals in private childcare, Head Start centers, or public schools, and focuses on quality instructional practices for birth to age five. Enrollment in TSR is not necessary to attend the Institute.

Registration opens to TSR participants April 14th and to the general public May 1st.  

To view the full Save the Date, which includes information on scheduling and accommodation, click here.

We hope to see you in San Antonio!

A Closer Look

Children as Storytellers: Dialogic Reading and Enhancing Early Language Skills

Some descriptionWhat do you see on this page?

A bear!

That’s right! It’s a big Grizzly bear. Can you say Grizzly bear?

Grizzly bear!

Good! What is the Grizzly bear doing?

He’s eating. 

How does he feel about what he’s eating?

The bear is very happy eating. He wants more!

This simple interaction, known as dialogic reading, can result in wonders for a child’s development of a wide range of early language skills.

Dialogic reading is book reading with continual, interactive exchange between the adult and child that aims to build confidence and interest in the child as the reader and storyteller. During this process, the child is prompted to complete sentences, recall details of the story, identify new words and ideas, and relate concepts in the book to experiences in the real world. In this approach, every page of a book provides a platform full of possibility for rich dialogue.

While dialogic reading is a powerful parent-child activity, it also has tremendous supportive evidence as a center-based intervention. Led by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Florida State University, a 2011 research synthesis examined eight independent studies on dialogic reading for quality of experimental design and intervention effectiveness. These researchers concluded that dialogic reading in preschool settings results in significant gains in phonological awareness, print concepts, reading comprehension, and vocabulary.  Furthermore, these studies suggest that dialogic reading can improve literacy outcomes for those who need it most—children at-risk for reading difficulties. Dialogic reading has also been featured in the U.S. Department of Education’s “What Works Clearinghouse” (2007) for gains in oral language skills. 

As the educator encourages the child to recall the story, expands on the child’s responses, and discusses words, ideas, and events in the book, dialogic reading helps young children build and reinforce the essential language and literacy skills for successful (and enjoyable!) reading.

Tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid prompting students with “yes” or “no” questions. For example, “Is the bear happy eating?” elicits a simple “yes” answer. Ask instead, “How does the bear feel while he’s eating?”
  • As familiarity with the book increases, leave more of the reading of written words to the child. 
  • Intersperse dialogic reading with straight reading to maintain the child’s attention. 
  • Follow the child’s interest when asking prompting questions. Lead the story only so far as to spark the child’s imagination, and let the child take it from there.
A Closer Look

Hear from Your Fellow TSR Participants!

As we move into the last few months of the school year, we want to take a moment to share some wonderful stories we’ve received from teachers, administrators, coaches, and lead agents participating in TSR this year.  TSR serves more than 2,000 teachers at 1,100 schools, child care centers, and Head Starts across Texas – and we love to hear from our participants in the field! 

Ethel Mack, Learning Time Academy in Houston: “We have participated in TSR! for three years. As a teacher in this program, I have truly learned a lot, especially with different teaching strategies, hands on activities, and appropriate learning methods for 3 and 4-year-old children. Not only has this wonderful program helped me, but also my center. My students are so excited and eager to learn. They are now aware of the purpose for the centers, small groups, and whole group activities. The students’ vocabulary is beyond average (I call them my little dictionaries!) The parents at my center are always involved and are seeing a big change in their children’s learning abilities through TSR! I am so pleased and happy to be a part of this program.”

Kay Fowler, Director of Mt. Sinai Christian Academy in Austin: “At our school, we have had several pre-k teachers participate in the wonderful Texas School Ready! Project.  This training has yielded nothing but outstanding results for the teachers and the students they taught.  We have received several testimonial letters from parents of students who have moved on to public schools in the greater Austin area.  One of our new teachers is extremely excited about the possibility of receiving this training.  She wants to do it!”

Kattya Barrera (Workforce Solutions Cameron): “As a TSR! coach, I have the most important role in a teacher’s life which is to get through them and help impact their students’ growth. Teachers need to be cultivated by effective strategies to influence and strengthen instruction. It has become my responsibility as a coach to discover each teacher’s strengths and maximum potential to help their students’ educational success inside a prekindergarten classroom. I am motivated to see how the TSR! Model helps us as coaches to influence and guide the teachers to reflect on their education experiences yesterday, today and tomorrow…”

If you would like to share your story in TSR, please contact us!  Let’s share your story with your fellow TSR teachers, administrators, and lead agents.  We truly appreciate your dedication to TSR and your commitment to serving young Texans in your community. 

TSR LogoCLI | UTHTexas School Ready
Children's Learning Institute at UTHealth
7000 Fannin, Suite 2300
Houston, TX 77030

Learn more about Texas School Ready! visit us at www.texasschoolready.org