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Language and Literacy Partners

Language and Literacy Partners

Professional Development
Classroom Coaching
Leadership and Administrative Support

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A Prekindergarten Through 3rd Grade Professional Development Initiative

Language and Literacy Partners (LLP) support teachers and administrators in adopting and refining instructional practices that cultivate young children’s literacy skills.

Our Balanced Literacy Framework is specifically designed to support PreK – 3rd grade teams through an in-depth study of literacy practices that supports:

  • Listening and speaking
  • Reading and writing
  • Home language and dialect and the academic language of school
  • Skill learning and high-level thinking
  • Whole group and small group instruction with individual conferring and conversation
  • School and home partnerships

All services can be offered in-person, online, or as a hybrid delivery format.

Contact Language and Literacy Partners


Current Professional Development Opportunities

Writing in PreK-3rd Grade Classrooms Storytelling, Drawing, and Writing

Online Series through April 2022

This four-part online professional development series includes instructional strategies behind storytelling, drawing and writing. Learn how to guide young children to expand their story ideas from pretend play to paper with writing, drawing and dictation. We explore how drawing, dictation, and storytelling support children’s reading development as well as their understanding of concepts across the curriculum. We model how to use culturally responsive text sets to motivate and guide children’s development as writers.

The fully online PD series is comprised of:

  • Four teacher learning labs that meet once a month from 4-7pm CST
    • Oral Language Foundations and Storytelling | April 7, 2022
    • Basic Skills in Writing | April 26, 2022
    • Marking Growth in Writing Through Assessments | May 10, 2022
    • Developing as a Writer with Help from Others | May 24, 2022
  • Two 1-hour Administrator learning labs
    • Wed April 13, 2022; 10:30-11:30am CST
    • Wed May 18, 2022; 10:30-11:30am CST


How We Work

Professional development is offered through a series of 3-hour learning labs on targeted instructional routines.

  • Each professional development series consists of 3 to 10 learning labs with coaching customized to fit the goals of your school or district
  • Learning labs are data-informed through evaluation of teaching practices, goal setting, and ongoing monitoring of student data
  • LLP staff assist with curriculum alignment and resource development within and across grade level teams

See our PreK – Kindergarten and Kindergarten – 3rd Grade Learning Lab offerings for a full list of topics.

Services We Provide

All services can be offered in-person, online, or as hybrid delivery format.

Professional Development

  • Half-day, full-day, and multi-day professional development learning labs covering a range of topics focusing on oral language and literacy development

Classroom Coaching

  • Expert coaching on implementing balanced literacy best practices with teachers and school administrators

Leadership and Administrator Support

  • Half-day, full-day, and multi-day professional development
  • Paired walk-throughs to observe classrooms
  • Consultation

We will customize a series to fit the needs of your school or district.

Gillian McNamee
Gillian Dowley McNamee, PhD
Professor; Director, Teacher Education Program; Director, Language and Literacy Partners
“ Gillian McNamee is a professor of child development and director of teacher education at Erikson Institute in Chicago, IL. She works closely with early childhood teacher candidates during their preparation for teaching as well as long term with teachers in schools, particularly children growing up in challenging social and economic situations. Her most recent book is The High Performing Preschool, Story Acting in Head Start Classrooms, University of Chicago Press, 2015. ”

Professional Development We Provide

PreK – Kindergarten Learning Labs

Our Prekindergarten and Kindergarten balanced literacy framework is specifically designed to support young children’s growing proficiencies in speaking and listening while immersing them in print-rich encounters with books and opportunities to draw, dictate and represent ideas on paper. Each of the high impact literacy practices in our framework have a long tradition and extensive research base. Each learning lab deepens teachers’ knowledge on the connection between oral language and reading and writing. We will customize a series to fit the needs of your school or district.

See our PreK – Kindergarten Learning Lab offerings for a full list of topics.

Kindergarten – 3rd Grade Learning Labs

Our K-3rd grade balanced literacy framework is specifically designed to support teachers in an in-depth study of high impact literacy practices with a long tradition and strong research base. Late kindergarten and early first grade are times of rapid development as children make significant leaps in reading and writing skills. During this time instruction shifts to allow longer periods of time for print based reading and writing. Each learning lab deepens knowledge about an individual instructional routine and the developmental continuum of reading and writing. We will customize a series to fit the needs of your school or district.

See our Kindergarten – 3rd Grade Learning Lab offerings for a full list of topics.

2021 – 2022 PD Series In-Person, Online, or Hybrid Format

Responding to Critical Issues

Language and Literacy Partners has developed and designed the following series to respond to current needs of the PreK – 3rd grade landscape. Each series supports teachers and administrators in achieving the goals of the series.

These series can be customized to meet the needs of your school or district as in-person, online or hybrid format.

Language and Literacy Partners at a Glance

Since 2002 we have partnered with teachers and administrators to provide professional development learning labs and coaching in Illinois and beyond.

A child learning to use a calendar

Our Partners

  • Holden Elementary School
  • Reilly Elementary School
  • Dett Elementary School
  • Graham Elementary School
  • KCAA Preschools of Hawaii
  • Audubon Elementary School
  • Catalyst Charter Schools Network
  • Oscar DePriest Elementary School
  • Edward K. Ellington Elementary School
  • Erie Elementary Charter School
  • Goethe Elementary School
  • William H. Prescott Elementary School
  • West Chicago D33 Early Learning
  • Chicago Public School Child Parent Centers
Girl Reading

Philanthropic Support

Major funding from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation helped Language and Literacy Partners launch an endowment fund. Additional support for the project is generously provided by the following:

  • The Crown Family
  • The Joyce Foundation
  • Perkins Hunter Foundation Fund
  • Polk Bros. Foundation
  • W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation
  • Stranahan Foundation
  • Anonymous
  • Other friends of Erikson Institute

We Are an IL-EMPOWER Approved Learning Partner