Southwest Florida EducationWorks
Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties


The Naples Children and Education Foundation (NCEF) invested in Early Literacy beginning in 2004 through the Collier Early Learning and Literacy Model (ELLM). At its foundation, ELLM is a coaching model that provides instructional coaches in approximately 72 at-risk classrooms throughout Collier County. ELLM coaches partner with teachers to analyze student data and identify learning goals and strategies to reach the goals. Over the years, ELLM has demonstrated over a year’s growth in learning in 8 months’ time with an average of 90% of the children learning between 40 and 52 letters.

Making It Real

It is important to use “real” pictures or photographs when teaching children letters and words. That connection to the “real world” supports reinforces learning in ways that the use of “clip art” never did. Word Walls are fundamental learning tools in ELLM classrooms. Students add words they learn to the wall matching beginning sounds with letters.

Students of ALL ages benefit from choice

ELLM classrooms are center-based meaning that students move from center to center for hands-on practice of a new skill or concept. In the pictured “writing center,” the ELLM student is drawing her letters and letter cluster. There are also math, science, and listening centers among other options.

It Is All About the Teacher

To improve educational outcomes, research continues to demonstrate the importance of teacher knowledge and skill. Professional and amateur athletes, actors/actresses, and others in the public have coaches challenging them and developing their potentials. The same concept applies to teachers. To continuously hone instructional practices, teachers benefit from coaching. Additionally, the most effective delivery of professional development is in the classroom through a teacher-coach partnership.