Office of Literacy

Reading_42A5619Consistent with Detroit Public Schools’ commitment to excellence in education, DPS seeks to instill life-long literacy skills in our students, staff, parents, and community through a comprehensive K-12 English/Language Arts curriculum.  Our experienced staff through the Office of Literacy uses frequent analysis of the data, high-caliber instruction, current research-based strategies, and ongoing professional development to positively impact student academic achievement.


The goals of the Office of Literacy are to:

  • Improve literacy skills
  • Increase parental and community involvement in literacy initiatives
  • Increase the number of students taking Advanced Placement English/Language Arts courses
  • Increase the number of partnerships engaged in promoting literacy

About our Language Arts Curriculum


Imagine It Pics. (2)Grades K – 6:  Imagine It! Reading Series

The SRA Imagine It! Reading Series is a research-based program that contains literature intended to expose students to a variety of different writing styles and genres. Lessons are delivered through systematic, explicit instruction.

Essential Concepts Taught in Imagine It! Reading

The alphabetic principle: letters work together in a systematic way to connect spoken language to written words

Print awareness: recognizing the nature of written language, such as print goes left to right and top to bottom

Phonemic awareness: hearing and understanding the sounds from which words are made

Systematic, explicit phonics: the association between the sounds of the language and the written symbols/spellings- that have been chosen to represent those sounds

Comprehension strategies and skills: to understand what is being read

The writing process and writing skills: to teach students to write with clarity and coherence

Spelling and vocabulary: spelling is a fundamental skill in written communication and vocabulary strategies help students learn, remember, and incorporate unknown words into their existing reading, writing, speaking, and listening vocabularies

Grammar, usage, and mechanics: to effectively communicate through writing

Grades 7 – 8: Prentice Hall Literature and Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar

Prentice Hall Literature and Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar are the core components of the 7th and 8th grade English/Language Arts curriculum. Prentice Hall selections incorporate some of the classics along with high-interest contemporary literature. It also has a skills focus that emphasizes reading and vocabulary development.

Grade 7 Prentice Hall Literature

Grade 7 Prentice Hall: Literature Prentice Hall: Writing and Grammar

Grade 8 Prentice Hall Literature

Grade 8 Prentice Hall: Literature Grade 8 Prentice Hall: Writing and Grammar

Grades 9 – 12: McDougal Littell Literature

McDougal Littell Literature provides core reading instruction for the 9th, 11th and 12th grade English/Language Arts curriculum. The 10th Grade edition of McDougal Littell Literature is used to supplement the Holt Rinehart and Winston African American Literature text. McDougal Littell material encourages students to explore the world of art, literature, and life’s big questions. The unique organization around clusters of standards allows for the teaching of major literary concepts across genres. Standards that belong together are taught together. Students analyze fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and media across clusters of standards. Special features support visual and media literacy, along with research strategies.

Grade 9 Literature

Grade 9 McDougal Littell: The Language of Literature

Grade 10 Literature

Grade 10 Holt Rinehart Winston: African American Literature Grade 10 McDougal Littell: Literature

Grade 11 Literature

Grade 11 American Literature

Grade 12 Literature

Grade 12 British Literature

Curriculum Support

The English/Language Arts curriculum of the Detroit Public Schools District is aligned with national and state Language Arts standards. The Michigan English Language Arts Grade Level Content Expectations for grades K – 8 and the High School Content Expectations for grades 9 – 12 are available to the public.

Teachers are provided consistent professional development in best practices to service all learning styles and in 2014, students will be assessed on the new Common Core Standards.


Our Staff


Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery teachers teach the lowest achieving first-grade students one-to-one for 12 to 20 weeks bringing them to the average reading level of their classroom peers.  This intensive program reduces the number of children referred to Special Education.  Small group instruction is added for low achieving students. Reading Recovery teachers also instruct from 25-36 other low performing students by providing small group instruction.

Instructional Specialists

Instructional Specialists provide English/Language Arts professional development, support the implementation of the elementary, middle, and high school programs at the school and district levels, develop curriculum materials, and support literacy coaches in their buildings. They also analyze data to make instructional decisions; design, organize and present at in-service programs; provide instructional and curriculum guidance to schools; support teachers with best practices; assist with the implementation of DIBELS, TRC, and BURST; trouble shoot problems with the hand-held assessment devices; and read and interpret assessment results.

Literacy Coaches

Literacy Coaches are school based professionals that assist the teachers in their buildings with the implementation of literacy across the curriculum. They coach and model research-based strategies and support teachers with delivery of instruction. They provide in-school professional development for the staff and parents.  Literacy Coaches also trouble shoot problems with hand-held assessment devices and interpret assessment results.

Library/Media unit

The Library/Media unit provides Accelerated Reader support, coordinates the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) grant, conducts library book evaluations, and teams with the technology staff to ensure standardization of equipment and software in the district. Our Library/Media Technician provides support to all library media specialists and other library staff; assists the administrator with the placement of library media personnel; organizes and assists with professional development for library media specialists and other library personnel; and supports the effective operation of all library media centers in the Detroit Public Schools District.


Student Services

The Office of Literacy encourages and supports programs that promote life-long literacy skills for our students and parents.  Some of the programs are listed below:

Reading Corps

Accelerated Reader

Students are encouraged to read ability level books and take quizzes to determine their level of comprehension.

Junior Great Books

This program promotes reading, thinking, and discussion. Students in grades 1 – 12 meet at the Main Library on Saturdays to discuss selected reading material.

Great Books

This program promotes classroom reading and discussion in an effort to build young minds, improve critical thinking, and promote higher student achievement.

Reading Corps

Detroit Public Schools called for citizens to volunteer 100,000 hours collectively to tutor reading in DPS schools. Members of the DPS Reading Corps come together for the children of Detroit Public Schools and devote their time to tutoring in the classroom.


LitWorld Partnership

Through the Office of Literacy, DPS has partnered with LitWorld, an international non-profit literacy organization with programs that encourage self-confidence and leadership in our children.

We currently have 8 LitClubs in our District: Carver, Davison, Detroit International Academy for Young Women, Earhart, Garvey, Gompers, MacKenzie, and Palmer Park Academy.

Upcoming Events

8th Annual Chancellor’s Reading Carnival for Children

Wayne County Community College District’s School of Continuing Education and The Bookworm Club in partnership with Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Public Library Present 8th Annual Chancellor’s Reading Carnival for Children.

Saturday, May 16, 2015
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Downtown Campus
1001 W. Fort St. • Detroit, MI 48226

The Office of Literacy Presents the 2014-2015 District Wide Literacy Fair!


May 19 – 21, 2015


Participating Schools

“Writing is Exciting and Reading is Insightful: A Showcase of Literacy across the Disciplines”


Bookstock Competition

Parent/Student Resources

Below are links that will provide support for your child:

  • is a free public service to teach children to read with phonics. A systematic phonics approach is combined with phonemic awareness practice that is designed to meet the needs of preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL) students. Users are motivated to learn in an atmosphere of imagination and enthusiasm and provided with opportunities for child-directed instruction.
  • Detroit Public Schools has educational resources for our students, parents, staff and the community. This information is provided by individual offices, schools, programs and staff throughout the district.
  • Parents and students can access a variety of education resources, including online textbooks and class assignments, from anywhere with an Internet connection. You may visit the Learning Village Webpage for more information or go directly to Parent/Student Learning Village.
  • Accelerated Reader Book Finder is a site that allows parents, students, and teachers to locate the reading level that has been assigned to specific books.
  • Free Scholastic Interactive websites for students and teachers.
  • Access free Language Arts Interactive activities on the Apples 4 the Teachers website.
  • gives parents the information they need and the ideas they want to help their kids reach their full potential and make learning fun.
  • Sadlier-Oxford Educational Publishing provides free Language Arts Interactive activities for grades PreK – 12.

News about Language Arts and Literacy