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Cindy Downend

Associate Director, Literacy Programs

What I like most about my role within the Center is…

I love to teach! It is so rewarding to see how our work with educators can be so empowering and transformative. When you think in new ways about literacy teaching and learning, you change your practice to improve the school experiences of children.

What I believe in

The power of literacy to improve, enrich, and change people’s lives.

Previous work highlights

Many years as a classroom teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, and literacy coach in Michigan, Germany, Minnesota, and Florida.

Favorite book

All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Fun fact

Many years ago I was smuggled across an international border to go snow-skiing!

Education

MA, Elementary Education, Western Michigan University
EdS, Educational Leadership, Nova Southeastern University

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Featured Blog Posts

October 4, 2022 Wendy Vaulton, Associate Director for Reading Recovery and Early Interventions

A is for Assessment: Considerations for linking assessment and instruction

Educational researcher Rachael Gabriel notes that a truly scientific approach to reading would acknowledge that “each student will require different kinds and degrees of support for component skills and the many processes of literacy” (Gabriel, 2021). But how do we uncover the kinds and degrees of support that will be most effective for individual students? Our best shot starts with assessment that is authentic, asset-based, actionable, and anti-racist. Think of these characteristics as a framework, wherein each facet supports the other in the development of responsive teaching.

September 14, 2022 Maria Nichols, Author & Consultant

Engaging Hearts and Minds Through Purposeful Talk

Create conditions and supports for engaging hearts and minds in ways that build depth of meaning making, compassion, and critical process for all students, including our youngest learners.

September 2, 2022 Cindy Downend, Associate Director of Literacy Programs

Focus on Phonics: Five Tips for a Successful Beginning with Phonics, Spelling and Word Study Lessons

Daily systematic explicit phonics instruction is essential for students to learn how to read effectively. Consider these five pointers for organizing your time and materials from the Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Systems.