At age 60, instead of retiring, former Superintendent of Schools Janet N. Mort enrolled in a PhD Early Literacy program to research why over 35% of struggling children do not succeed in school. Within in seven years she had completed her analysis of the most compelling recent literacy research, designed the Joyful Literacy Framework, and implemented it in over a hundred primary pilot classrooms where data was collected by external examiners for the first four years of Joyful Literacy implementation.
Dr. Janet N. Mort
Joyful Literacy’s Founder and
Order of British Columbia Recipient 2020
The results exceeded expectations. School Superintendent Lambie chose to participate in the pilot out of frustration that only 49.8% of her grade four students were achieving at provincially designated grade level expectations. The Joyful Literacy Framework was implemented with students entering Kindergarten in 2013. Implementation was continued through to the year they entered grade four where, after five years of the Joyful Literacy Framework, the students’ success rate had risen to 85%.
One year later Principal Gladstone of the ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱ Tribal School, a school populated by 100% indigenous students (many of whom enter school vulnerable) joined the pilot study. Once again, over the course of the three- year study, the results were outstanding.
In Kindergarten, success rates rose from 40% to 80% over a three-year period when the standard program changed to the Joyful Literacy Framework.
In Grade One, success rates rose from 54% to 89% over a three-year period when the standard program changed to the Joyful Literacy Framework.
In Grade Two, success rates rose from 26% to 92% over a three-year period when the standard program changed to the Joyful Literacy Framework.
Since then numerous school districts and several indigenous schools have contracted with Dr. Mort to train hundreds of teachers and administrators with similar results. Over15,000 educators have attended her Joyful Literacy Summits over the past seven years.
Joyful Literacy Products
Janet has written five books, Joyful Literacy Interventions, Putting on the Blitz, The Joyful Literacy Intervention Framework, and Joyful Literacy and Parent Power. These books clearly weave together her essential assessment/teaching/tracking components with practical, joyful classroom applications that facilitate rich and stimulating student-teacher interaction.
Twenty-five Circle Charts (representing 25 sets of essential literacy skills) have become the heartbeat of the Joyful Literacy Framework success story. Each Circle Chart identifies the essential literacy skills in a simple format that makes it possible to track each child’s progress for each individual skill. If there are any gaps in skill mastery, children will struggle with decoding. The Circle Charts ensure that the teacher can plan each week’s instruction specific to the needs of groups of children and individual needs at a moment’s notice. This ability to group children with like needs spontaneously, then re-group according to changing needs, is key to student success. Plans are underway to create an ‘app’ that makes this possible with technical support.
We’ve packed a year’s worth of K to 5 Teacher Professional Development into one bundle. Our bundle includes the instruction, research, and tools teachers need to boost reading grade-level success to over 85% for all children.
The video series provides 11 hours of Professional Development covering every essential topic in innovative and thoughtful ways. The videos can be watched in order of choice and combined with staff planning and dialogue sessions to provide a framework for annual planning.
Once Janet completed her Book (Parent Power: You can teach your child at home) one of the school districts she works with (SD 91 Nechako) asked her to enter a partnership with their local Parent Advisory Committee to design and create a video series - based on her book.
The result is a series of ten dynamic videos that provide parents with hundreds of simple ideas to support their joyful and playful ‘home-work’ with children in the summer, featuring what research defines as the most impactful experiences children need for future literacy success.
Once the pilot study began in school districts in 2013 Dr. Mort, in partnership with districts and her university, began offering educational Summits in the Pacific Northwest for educators interested in the Joyful Literacy Framework and related early learning research. In the past seven years she has hosted more than 30 Summits totalling over 15,000 educators. When COVID-19 struck in 2020 Dr. Mort changed the onsite Summits to Zoom Summit offerings to facilitate safety necessities.
Based on its data-driven success the Joyful Literacy Intervention Framework is poised for successful broad-based implementation internationally in English-speaking countries in Kindergarten to Grade three classrooms.
Implementation and reliable research have confirmed that:
Regardless of culture, past experience, ethnicity, gender, over 90% of all children should be able to succeed at grade level; the only exceptions would be those with medically-diagnosed conditions.
Literacy development begins in the womb and continues in the preschool years primarily through play, games and active learning.
Children will be most successful when parents partner with educators.
Children need to experience literacy success by Grade Three in order to guarantee future school success.
There are five research-identified Literacy Foundational Skill sets that need to be mastered in the K to 3 school years.
Literacy Intervention strategies need to begin in Kindergarten as soon as skill gaps are identified and continued as necessary throughout the school years to close gaps as quickly as possible.
Playful and repetitive practice strategies are essential for establishing skill development in long term memory.
Janet's inspirational commitment to providing a successful school experience for all children will be her legacy.
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