Fortuna Elementary & McKinleyville Union

School District Consortium 

In March, CALI Reads Director, Dr. Griffo met up with Site Coach Karla Tice and Regional Coach Elizabeth Calleja in Humboldt County to visit CALI Reads participants in the classroom.


Fortuna Middle

Fortuna Middle School

Our first stop was to visit the classroom of Ms. Reveles, a Teacher Librarian and GATE teacher. She used the Get the Gist strategy with students who were reading an article about NASA Physicist Katherine Johnson. To launch the activity, check out the Powerpoint she used that was created by another CALI Reads colleague – we love it! While reading, she had students highlight key ideas in article and then use their Get the Gist template to create their Gist statement. She’s been an active CALI Reads participant and has completed trainings on other strategies such as Reciprocal Teaching, AR Guides, Self-Generated Questions, WordBuilder, and Vocabulary Maps. Nice work, Ms. Reveles! 


Next, we swung by for a chat with Principal, Saul Lewis. He expressed gratitude for the teacher collaboration and coach support facilitated through CALI Reads! Mr. Lewis took the helm at this school mid-project, so we thanked him for jumping right in with us. We are thrilled to have his support and collaboration!

Finally, we visited Ms. Crawford, an Intervention teacher, who has been using the WordBuilder App to teach students how to decode multisyllabic words, in addition to other CALI Reads strategies such as Morphology and Reciprocal Teaching. On the large screen, she demonstrated the decoding process with the word remembering. Then, students got to work decoding other multisyllabic words using WordBuilder on their own tablets while Ms. Crawford lent support. Check out these great templates she developed which students keep in a binder on their desk. Wow, that Decoding Strategy sure is handy

Ms. Crawford using the Wordbuilder App
Using the Wordbuilder
WordBuilder printouts

Mat Bingham

At Toddy Thomas  

We stopped in to say hello to Principal Mat Bigham, who has been an active collaborator with his CALI Reads coaches. He talked about his CALI Reads highlights: the professional development, the literacy strategies, and using student data to determine intervention needs. Way to steer the ship, Mr. Bigham!  

 Following, we stepped into Ms. Johansen’s 5th grade classroom. This is her 2nd year teaching, but wow is she a go-getter! She has been an active participant in CALI Reads and has completed modules on Get the Gist, AR Guides, and Reciprocal Teaching. Here she is reviewing the Reciprocal Teaching (RT) strategy with her students. Check out this RT Review . For questioning, she prompts students to generate an inferencing question and then monitors the class as students record responses on their white boards . For Summarizing, she incorporates the Get the Gist strategy by prompting students to answer Who, What, When, Where . Very clever!  

What Inference can you make?
Reciprocal Teaching
Ms. Johansen summarizing

McKinnleyville Middle School

McKinleyville Middle

Ms. Som, Lead Teacher, is teaching her study skills class to use Anticipation Reaction (AR) Guides. To support comprehension of the article Junk Food Ads Banned in the UK, she projects an AR Guide as she prompts students to consider the opinion statements before reading. Following a choral reading of each paragraph, she prompts students to reconsider their opinions and record textual evidence. Ms. Som has been applying many other CALI Reads strategies in the classroom as well, including Self-Generated Questions, Vocabulary Maps, Get the Gist, and Reciprocal Teaching. Wow, those are some valuable study skills!  

Last stop is Ms. Dostal, Art Teacher, who demonstrates integrated use of the Get the Gist strategy and Vocabulary Maps in reading a passage on Ancient Greek Theater Masks. Wait, what? Reading strategies in an art class – who knew! Yes, Ms. Dostal is also using Reciprocal Teaching with her art students. She does a beautiful job of introducing a unit on mask making through reading this article. She projects the article and Get the Gist template on the big screen. Students read the article aloud at their desks and work in the teams of four to determine the gist of this article. Finally, a few brave volunteers share their Gist statement. We can’t wait to see what kinds of Greek inspired masks these students come up with!  

Del Norte Redwoods
Car driving through tree
Del Norte Beach

Del Norte Unified School District

On Day Two, CALI Reads Director, Dr. Griffo headed north to join Elizabeth Calleja (who serves as both the Regional and Site Coach in Del Norte County) for a visit with our far north schools. Just look at this stunning area of California!

Smith River Elementary

We started our day off with Principal Ms. Cochran for Morning Announcements. Ms. Cochran talked about a district wide family engagement event she is facilitating that demonstrates how read alouds are beneficial to children in all languages. She is planning an event where parents take turns reading aloud a children’s story in English, Spanish, Hmong, Tolowa, and Yurok. What a way to leverage valuable community resources!


Mr. Jones

Next, we visited Mr. Jones, 8th grade classroom where he was busy at work with Reciprocal Teaching in his History class. During our visit, students were reading and discussing an article on the Legislative Branch. To scaffold conversation, each table group had a laminate set of five RT Roles (bound by a metal ring for ease of separating and handing out). Students used the Reciprocal Teaching Four Square Template to record their use of strategies to support comprehension. As an active participant in CALI Reads, Mr. Jones has incorporated other literacy strategies in his classroom such as Self-Generated Questions, Vocabulary Maps, WordBuilder, and Get the Gist. And he is currently supporting the CALI Reads Intervention Program through REWARDS in an after-school program. Mr. Jones, congratulations on retirement this year – you will be greatly missed!   

Four-Square Template
Group Handout

Finally, we dropped in to see Ms. Bastista, a second-year teacher who is new to CALI Reads. Welcome! Ms. Bastista has tackled the Reciprocal Teaching (RT) strategy and is doing a wonderful job teaching her 4th graders to use this strategy. She has posted information on the wall about each of the RT strategies. Student groups of four were actively reading their leveled texts and taking turns in their group to record information on their Four Square Template. Very impressive start to a career, Ms. Bastista! We hope you use Reciprocal Teaching for years to come!  

Ms. Bastista, a second-year teacher who is new to CALI Reads.

Mountain Elementary 

Next stop on our tour was Mountain Elementary,                                                                         a small school that joined CALI Reads in year 4. 

Mountain Elementary


Coach Elizabeth at Mountain

At Mountain, we joined Ms. Shunk, a teacher in training, who has a mixed grade class of 6th, 7th, & 8th graders. She has been using Reciprocal Teaching (RT) to help students access history textbooks at three grade levels simultaneously. During our visit, she demonstrated use of RT to support her students’ reading of the article Herd Behavior. Posted on the whiteboard, Ms. Shunk captured the role of the discussion leader and each of the four strategies on chart paper. She introduced the article and prompted a review of the strategies before turning things over to the group leaders. Student groups read and used their Four-Square Template to record important information along the way. During the lesson, she sat down with a 6th grader group to lend more intensive support. Great use of a high-leverage strategy to support content area reading!   

Ms. Skunk at Mountain
Herd Behavior

Lunch Break

Del Norte is a big county and boy were we famished running between schools, so we met up Redwood Principal Ms. Slayton at the Historic Hiouchi Café. Ms. Slayton sits on CALI Reads State Leadership Team which meets twice a year to review CALI Reads progress. We took this opportunity to catch up with her on how things are going at Redwood. She expressed gratitude for the collaboration and coaching support that have come through the CALI Reads project. 

Hiouchi cafe
Principal Ms. Slayton

Crescent City Middle  

Our last classroom stop of the day was to spend the afternoon with Ms. Owens, who is an English language development (ELD) and Intervention teacher. We were fortunate to sit in on her 8th grade ELD class where she used the Self-Generated Questions with students to read an infographic on The Three Branches of Government. She used Level 1 Questions to help students prepare for their upcoming test by asking and answering right there questions – and cued them to craft questions starting with Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. She passed out mini-cue cards to support student use of Level 1 questions. Nice scaffold! We stayed to watch her 6th grade intervention group who are using REWARDS.  She has created a board to prompt students on the steps for Overt and Covert strategies for reading long (multisyllabic) words. At the end of the session, students honestly reported that they initially resisted these meetings, but now recognize how much REWARDS has helped them read big words – and they even enjoy coming to their group  – which we witnessed when they ran into the room eager to get started. Ms. Owen is retiring at the end of this year. She has been an active participant in CALI Reads and has built a strong repertoire of literacy strategies – she will be greatly missed!  

Three Branches of Government
Ms Owen

Rae Fearing


Del Norte District Office 

And our final stop of the day ended with Ms. Fearing, Del Norte’s Director of Innovative and Special Programs who has been leading the CALI Reads work in her district. Ms. Fearing has been a tireless supporter of the CALI Reads work. In 2021, she applied for additional CALI Reads project funds to support intervention in Del Norte and has been instrumental in bringing the REWARDS intervention training and program to participating schools. Our work in Del Norte wouldn’t be possible without her support and involvement!