Universal Design for Inclusive Literacy

Literacy is an act of power and freedom. Being literate involves not only the ability to make meaning from text or express oneself but also the ability to critique the thinking of others and advocate for oneself. How do we ensure all learners are intentionally and meaningfully included so they may equitably access content and engage in meaningful learning experiences?

This 9-part series is especially relevant as we welcome students back to classrooms. We explore how to support the literacy development of all students in inclusive and equitable learning environments through the lens of Universal Design for Learning. Educators grappling with accelerating learning in the face of barriers and student variability will find this series timely and relevant.

For our other webinar series archive, visit Designing for Literacy Development in the Hybrid Classroom.

Session 1: Mindset

Monday, September 13, 2021

“Barriers are in the design, not the learner” is one of the foundational concepts in Universal Design for Learning.  But, what does that mean in practice?  How do we design with this foundational UDL concept in mind?   In this session, we will explore the shifts in mindset essential to designing inclusive and equitable learning environments.

Session 2: Goal Setting

Monday, October 11, 2021

Goals are the foundation of any effective learning experience. When we clarify what we want learners to accomplish, then we can design learning experiences and flexible assessments that support student agency and ownership of learning.  In this session, we will explore how to separate the means from universally designed goals that focus instruction to empower both educators and learners.

Session 3: Barriers

Monday, November 8, 2021

Identifying barriers is essential to designing and facilitating equitable learning environments. In this session, we will explore how to anticipate barriers and examine strategies to minimize the barriers in service of literacy development and content-area knowledge.

Session 4: Options

Monday, December 13, 2021

Options in design offer learners opportunities to access and demonstrate learning in a variety of ways. Providing multiple means for engaging, perceiving, and demonstrating understanding maximizes inclusion. In this session, we will explore strategies for providing options that serve to remove barriers and build strong skills in literacy across the curriculum.

Session 5: Expert Learning

Monday, January 10, 2022

Expert learners are purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal-directed. In the session, we will explore how to universally design learning experiences to include “voice and choice” to support the development of expert learners.

Session 6: Self Reflection

Monday, February 14, 2022

Self-reflection is a necessary component of the learning process as it empowers learners to take ownership of their learning. As educators, we must intentionally design opportunities for our learners to engage in self-reflection. In this session, we will explore how to design these opportunities and identify strategies that support self-reflection.

Session 7: Literacy Across the Curriculum

Monday, March 14, 2022

Literacy practices must be infused within all content areas to support students in acquiring discipline-specific knowledge, developing inquiry skills, and communicating content knowledge with others. In this session, we will explore how to universally design learning experiences across the curriculum that minimize barriers to learning while supporting literacy and content development.

Session 8: Meaning-Making

Monday, April 11, 2022 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM PT

Being able to construct meaning from text is an essential skill. How do you support this skill when interacting with the text is a barrier for learners? Moreover, what unique considerations present themselves in various disciplines. For example, how might one “read like a scientist?”  In this session, we will explore strategies to minimize barriers, identify inclusive practices that support meaning-making, and expand our notion of texts. 

Session 9: Writing

Monday, May 9, 2022 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM PT

Writing expresses who we are as people, fosters our ability to refine and explain ideas, and demonstrates our learning or thinking.  The act of writing reinforces learning. Increasingly, writing is used as a means for students to demonstrate learning or justify their thinking--not just in English and history classes, but in math and science as well. In this session, we will explore disciplinary-specific inclusive practices and strategies to minimize barriers to writing and engage all learners in the writing process across content areas.